No Risk-Free Level of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke
(Monroe County, Fla) – Tobacco Free Florida wants to take the opportunity to empower Floridians about relevant issues related to tobacco use in the state. One of this year’s focal points is secondhand smoke (SHS), an issue that affects every single Floridian.
Despite decrease in smokers in the state and the growing trend of smoke-free policies (both indoors and outdoors) many Floridians are unaware that hundreds of SHS’s harmful chemicals are toxic and almost 70 are proven to cause cancer. Every year in the U.S. about 41,000 nonsmoking adults die from a disease caused by secondhand smoke exposure. SHS can also cause coronary heart disease, stroke, and lung cancer. Each year in Florida, approx. 3,500 non-smoking adults die primarily from smoke-exposure.
The Consequences and Dangers of Second-Hand Smoke
Children and Senior Citizens
When it comes to second-hand smoke, we need to keep in mind the health of Florida’s children and most vulnerable senior citizens as a top priority. Children are more exposed to SHS than adults and the consequences are increases of risk of respiratory and ear infections. Children that suffer from asthma are likely to experience more frequent and more severe attacks, which can put their lives in danger from SHS.
Countless Floridians are involuntarily exposed to the dangers of SHS in the nightlife industry, construction and other blue-collar industries while making a living and providing for their families. Even breathing SHS for short periods of time, like at a bar or a nightclub, can be dangerous. When you breathe SHS, tobacco smoke immediately seeps into the bloodstream and changes its chemistry so that the blood becomes stickier, allowing clots to form that can cause major blockages in already narrowed arteries.
Diseases in Adults
Damage to the heart can be significant, if not deadly. In addition to impacting heart health, exposure to SHS can increase the risk of many respiratory diseases, including emphysema, bronchitis, chronic airway obstruction and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Exposure to SHS also significantly increases the risk of lung cancer, Florida’s number-one cancer killer.
The bottom line is there is no risk-free level of exposure to SHS. While comprehensive smoke-free air laws are crucial to protecting Floridians from the dangers of SHS, it is also important to take the right steps to quit smoking or to help someone quit.
Tobacco Free Florida offers a number of free and convenient resources to help Floridians quit tobacco.
- CALL: Call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach who will help you assess your addiction and help you create a personalized quit plan.
- CLICK: Enroll in the Web Coach®, which will help you create your own web-based quit plan that’s right for you, visit https://www.quitnow.net/florida.
- COME IN: Visit the Florida Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Network’s website,
- http://ahectobacco.com, to locate your local AHEC and sign up for Quit Smoking Now group classes.
About Tobacco Free Florida
- Tobacco Free Florida is a statewide cessation and prevention campaign funded by Florida’s tobacco settlement fund. Tobacco Free Florida is managed by the Florida Department of Health, specifically the Bureau of Tobacco Prevention Program.
- Smokers and smokeless tobacco users interested in quitting are encouraged to call the Florida Quitline at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW to speak with a Quit Coach. To learn about Tobacco Free Florida and the state’s free quit smoking resources, visit www.tobaccofreeflorida.com or follow the campaign on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TobaccoFreeFlorida or Twitter at www.twitter.com/tobaccofreefla