A long, well-known fact is that smoking is not good for you. However, it’s not good for anyone. For instance, if you are a smoker, anyone around you is inhaling secondhand smoke, which is just as dangerous as directly smoking a cigarette or cigar. One thing that many people don’t think about is that smokers also inhale that secondhand smoke. Let’s learn more about secondhand smoke and its dangers, as well as how to improve the air quality in your home.

What Is Secondhand Smoke?

Secondhand smoke is a blend of the smoke that burning tobacco puts off and the smoke that smokers exhale. It is often referred to as passive or involuntary smoking. Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 substances, many of which are toxic. Exposure to secondhand smoke generally occurs inside, such as the home or car. Secondhand smoke can move from one room or floor level to another.

Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke

The health effects of secondhand smoke are serious for the smoker, people around them, children, and pets. Secondhand smoke can significantly increase the overall risk of lung cancer, as well as other cancers in the body. Heart disease is a concern as well. Though active smokers are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, non-smokers are at risk of developing heart disease from secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke can make asthma worse for adults and children. It can also increase the risk of developing lower respiratory tract infections. A higher risk of ear infections in children is also a concern. Exposure to secondhand smoke in the home can also lead children to become sick more frequently, resulting in the need to miss school.

Smoking can affect babies in the womb as well. It can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, low birth weight, and more. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are also more likely to develop a learning disability and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Now, don’t assume pets are safe from secondhand smoke, as it can affect their lungs and hearts just like humans. Dogs may also develop allergic skin disease, nasal cancer, and emphysema, aside from canine heart disease and lung disease.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

When you’re inside, you want to breathe healthy air. This is true for smokers and non-smokers alike. So, what steps can you take to improve the indoor air quality of your home?

Stop Smoking/Smoke-Free Home

The ideal solution is to stop smoking. The health effects of smoking for yourself and the loved ones around you are severe and serious. If you think you need help with quitting, your doctor can help you. Some examples include nicotine patches and gum, nicotine replacement therapy, and relevant medications.

In the event that smoking continues, you should go outside. Make your home a smoke-free zone. This is the only way to eliminate secondhand smoke from inside the home.

Perform a Deep Cleaning of the Home

Remove all linens from the home, such as towels, curtains, and sheets, and wash them thoroughly. Steam rugs and carpet and utilize a deodorizing product. Using a water and bleach mixture, sanitize all surfaces you can, including ceilings, floors, light fixtures, countertops, etc. Open the windows to help air out the home. Consider repainting the interior of your home.

Use a HEPA Filter (and/or Air Purifier)

A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can remove more harmful pollutants and particles from the air than a standard air filter, which is why HEPA filters are highly recommended for smoking homes.

Further, an air purifier can help reduce secondhand smoke that is present inside while also helping to reduce and potentially eliminate odors in the home caused by cigarette smoke. The way an air purifier works is by pulling air from inside the home into them, cleaning that air, and then circulating the air back into the air.

Get Professional Help from Comfort Systems

While secondhand smoke exposure has reduced over the years, it is still a significant concern. If you’re interested in having the quality of your indoor air tested, or if you would like to learn more about improving the air quality in your home, reach out to Comfort Systems.