DANGERS OF SECOND HAND SMOKE

Administrator


With the implementation of Executive Order No 26 which provides for Smoke-Free Public and Enclosed Places in May 2017, the intent and spirit of the Clean Air Act of 1999 and the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003 have become more tangible. As the country marks the second year of EO 26, we look at the dangers of second-hand smoke which made EO 26 a game-changer.

 

In 2002, the Philippines was the 15th largest consumer of tobacco products in the world. World Health Organization 2013 statistics show that 20.6% of the overall Philippine population smoke tobacco daily, 35% of these are men and 6.4%, women.

 

Data from the Tobacco Atlas on tobacco usage in 2016 indicates that one-fifth of males and one-third of females around the world were exposed to second-hand smoke. During the 2018 World No Tobacco Day observance, no less than Health Secretary Franciso T. Duque III explained why tobacco use and second-hand smoke should be avoided: “Tobacco smoke thickens the blood, increases the risk of blood clots, narrows the arteries and restricts oxygen in the blood.”

 

Hardening of arteries or ischemic heart diseases remain as one of the leading causes of death in the Philippines, with 74,000 cases in 2016. Other diseases linked to smoking such as cancer, stroke, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and other heart diseases are also high on the list.

 

The Tobacco Atlas underscores the reality that exposure to second-hand smoke is prevalent in many countries, especially Asia. In 2016, it was estimated that 884,000 deaths were caused by second-hand smoke.

 

Among the effects of tobacco usage is the exposure to about 70 known carcinogens which are among the more than 7000 toxic chemicals found in tobacco. While death and disease are directly related to the number of cigarettes smoked, other effects can be felt even without having smoked a single cigarette. Mere exposure to environmental tobacco smoke may increase risks of cancer and heart disease, as well as other conditions detrimental to body and mental health.

 

Based on the studies of the Tobacco Atlas, the diseases identified with second-hand smoke affecting children include the following:

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Asthma, wheeze illnesses, impaired lung functions, lower respiratory illness (pneumonia), respiratory symptoms such as cough and breathlessness
  • Middle ear disease

On the other hand, adults exposed to environmental tobacco smoke may be at risk for the following:

  • Coronary heart disease
  • Lung cancer
  • Nasal irritation, odor annoyance
  • Stroke
  • Reproductive effects on women, low birth weight

In addition, evidence also suggests that second-hand smoke can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, cough, chest tightness and difficulty in breathing, asthma, impaired lung function, breast cancer, and cancer of the nasal sinus, pharynx and larynx.[8] Other deficiencies could also occur, such as cataracts, miscarriage, and ADHD.[9]

 

The impact of second-hand smoke cannot be taken lightly, and the timely activation of EO 26 helps provide the policy by which more action can be taken to protect everyone from the ill effects of environmental or second-hand tobacco smoke.

 

[1] Department of Health. [n.d.] Executive Order No. 26 from the Office of the President entitled “PROVIDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SMOKE-FREE ENVIRONMENTS IN PUBLIC AND ENCLOSED PLACES”. Retrieved from https://www.doh.gov.ph/node/10079

 

[2] World Health Organization. [2015, November]. Tobacco control in the Philippines. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/tobacco/about/partners/bloomberg/phl/en/

 

[3] The Tobacco Atlas. [n.d.] Tobacco Atlas 6th Edition. Retrieved from https://files.tobaccoatlas.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/TobaccoAtlas_6thEdition_LoRes.pdf

 

[4] Department of Health. [2018, May] Filipinos urged to choose health, stamp tobacco out. Retrieved from https://www.doh.gov.ph/node/14293

 

[5] Department of Health. [2018, May] Filipinos urged to choose health, stamp tobacco out. Retrieved from https://www.doh.gov.ph/node/14293

[6] The Tobacco Atlas. [n.d.] Tobacco Atlas 6th Edition. Retrieved from https://files.tobaccoatlas.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/TobaccoAtlas_6thEdition_LoRes.pdf

 

[7] The Tobacco Atlas. [n.d.] Tobacco Atlas 6th Edition. Retrieved from https://files.tobaccoatlas.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/TobaccoAtlas_6thEdition_LoRes.pdf

 

[8] The Tobacco Atlas. [n.d.] Tobacco Atlas 6th Edition. Retrieved from https://files.tobaccoatlas.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/TobaccoAtlas_6thEdition_LoRes.pdf

 

[9] ManilaMed.com.ph. [n.d.] Why Secondhand Smokers Could be in More Danger. Retrieved from https://www.manilamed.com.ph/danger-on-secondhand-smokers/#