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In a recent conversation with a colleague, we received some insight into what it’s like to live with asthma. This isn’t to say we weren’t already aware of the dangers of smoking for asthmatics. After all, cigarettes are deadly for all of us. But after hearing our friend speak of his experiences with breathing issues related to cigarette smoke, we felt it necessary to communicate how important it is for us all to avoid secondhand smoke at all costs.

“I can’t even smell it,” our colleague informed us, “If you go outside to smoke and come back in and I smell it on you, I’ll start coughing. It’s unbearable. I literally don’t know how people do it. You couldn’t get me to smoke a cigarette for a million dollars. I’d literally die before I finished it.”

What can non-smokers do to avoid secondhand smoke?

“Put all of your friends who are smokers on alert,” says our colleague, “If my friends plan on lighting up, they make sure to do so away from me. To be honest, I don’t ever have them over to my home because I just can’t have smoke anywhere around me. And when I visit them, they always go outside. Believe me, I appreciate it.”

It’s important to point out that our asthmatic friend doesn’t have the breathing issues he had when he as a child. As a kid, he experienced wheezing and coughing fits due to such irritants as pollen and ragweed. His last major asthma attack took place during a camping trip in Grade 4. However, as an adult, his asthma is all but gone. That is, of course, unless he smells smoke.

You don’t have to be asthmatic for secondhand smoke to impact you.

“Secondhand smoke exposure contributes to approximately 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults and 400 deaths in infants each year,” reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Secondhand smoke causes stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease in adults. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.”

The Monday Campaigns is a global movement backed by leading public health schools that dedicates the first day of every week to health. On their website, they point out that secondhand smoke releases more than 7,000 harmful chemicals into the air. To reiterate, cigarette smoke is dangerous for all us, not just those with respiratory issues.

Keep your home strictly smoke-free.

If you’re a non-smoker trying to avoid secondhand smoke, there is no simpler advice. Keep cigarette smoke out of your home. As our colleague mentioned, he won’t even let someone who has recently smoked a cigarette to enter his home. While this may seem harsh for some people, it’s a necessity if you wish to completely avoid the health hazards associated with cigarette smoking.

Kentucky’s St. Elizabeth Healthcare encourages people to ask their friends not to smoke around them. “It may be an awkward conversation at first, but it’s important to help your friend understand that while you love spending time together, you can’t be around him when he smokes,” they say on their website, “Be caring and understanding, but be firm.”

Unquestionably, a smoke-free home will vastly improve its indoor air quality. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we’d like to help you take things a step further. For information about our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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