Make a No-Smoking Zome in Your Home
There’s really no debating it: All homes should be smoke-free spaces. Not only does cigarette, pipe, and cigar smoke expose other people in your home to the dangers of secondhand (and third-hand) smoke, it sharply increases the chances of a house fire and makes your home less desirable to live in and visit.
The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke
Secondhand smoke is more dangerous than it sounds. Declared a human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, secondhand smoke is a combination of the smoke exhaled by the smoker and the smoke coming from the tobacco product itself. This double whammy increases the risk of serious health complications and death.
A smoker in your home compromises his life and the life of everyone around him. And that includes pets: Cats exposed to secondhand smoke have double the risk of developing malignant lymphoma.
Many state governments are taking the health risks of secondhand smoke and indoor air pollution so seriously that they have banned smoking in most public areas, including restaurants, workplaces, and bars. More than half the states and the District of Columbia have put comprehensive smoke-free laws into place.
Some of the specific potential health effects of secondhand smoke include increased risk of:
- Lung cancer
- Heart disease
- Pregnancy complications
- Excess phlegm production
- Ear infection
- Reduced lung function
- Severe asthma symptoms
Secondhand smoke is particularly dangerous to infants and young children, since their developing bodies are especially sensitive to the effects of secondhand smoke.
A Smoking Ban Should Be Part of Your Fire Safety Plan
Another way smoking in the home can endanger your family is by increasing the chances for a house fire. Smoking-related fires are the leading cause of house fire deaths — just one more excellent reason to ban cigarettes and smoking of any kind in the home.
If that’s not possible, be sure to never allow smoking in bed and carefully dispose of each cigarette that is smoked in and around your home.
What About Third-Hand Smoke?
The smoke from cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe not only seeps into hair and clothing, but can also get into rugs, upholstered furniture, curtains, and other fabric surfaces. Once these particles settle in, they stay long after the smoker has finished smoking. This type of long-term effect is now sometimes referred to as “third-hand smoke” — years later, people who were not even acquainted with the original smoker are still breathing in the smoke residue.
If you smoke or spend a lot of time around a smoker, you might not notice the unpleasant odor of stale tobacco smoke, but any guests you have certainly will. So resolve to stop smoking in your home, remove ashtrays, and ask that others refrain from smoking when they visit — politely ask that he or she smoke outside if they must.
A smoke-free environment will make your home a safer, healthier, more pleasant place for you, your friends, and your family.