Secondhand smoke increases the chances of non-smokers developing cancer by 20–30 percent. Out of the 250 toxic chemicals, 50 of them are carcinogens. Exposure to these chemicals at home, office or any other public place mirrors the risk of acquiring cancers, amongst which lung cancer is the most common one.
Cancers Caused By Secondhand Smoke And Their Symptoms
While a congestion, cough and decreased function of lungs are the minor side effects of secondhand smoking, lung cancer is a life threating one.
The symptoms are:
- An insisting cough even after two weeks
- Chest pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Constant wheezing
- Blood stained sputum or mucus
- Hoarse voice
- Pain in the bones
Studies show that constant exposure of women to passive smoking increases their risk of acquiring a breast cancer. The reason is breast tissues are more sensitive to the carcinogens produced in secondhand smoke prior to first pregnancy.
The symptoms of breast cancer are:
- Appearance of lumps in the breasts and underarms
- More than usual tenderness in breasts
- Unexplained change in the appearance of breasts and nipples
- Shrinking or swelling of breasts
- Redness, scaly appearance, and ridges on the breasts
Classified as pharyngeal and laryngeal cancers, throat cancer is a rare one and secondhand smoke is one of the causes. Men are more likely to be affected by it. The symptoms include:
- Constant coughing
- Trouble and pain when swallowing
- A sore throat that does not go away
- Breathing trouble
- A lump or mass in the neck
- Ear pain
- Weight loss
Research indicates that secondhand cigarette smoke may contribute to bladder carcinogens. And, these carcinogens are likely to affect women more than men. The reason being, men outnumber women in the active smoking. The symptoms of bladder cancer are:
- Pain or burning sensation during urination
- Blood or blood clots in the urine
- Frequent urination even during the nights
- Feeling the urge to urinate, but not being able to pass urine
- Lower back pain on only one side of the body
In adults, secondhand smoking is also linked to rectal, stomach, and brain cancer. The effect, however, is not as profound like in other organs. In children, secondhand smoking increases the risk of leukemia, lymphoma, liver cancer, and brain tumors.
Public smoking, has, therefore, been banned in most of the countries. Adhering to the rules saves not just yours but also others’ lives!