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Doctor insights on: Exposed To Second Hand Smoke

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Any advice? I have been exposed to second hand smoke. Is my health now at risk?

Any advice? I have been exposed to second hand smoke. Is my health now at risk?

No: But your level of anxiety concerns me. Virtually everyone on the planet has been exposed to second hand smoke, whether they know it or not. We should all try to minimize our exposure, but single exposure to second hand smoke would have no detectable effects on anybody, other than perhaps someone with a severe allergy to tobacco smoke, or where it sets off their asthma. A counselor might help you. ...Read more

Dr. Kevin Windisch
163 Doctors shared insights

Second Hand Smoke (Definition)

Second hand tobacco smoke can be irritating to the lining of the ear's normal draining tube (the Eustachian tube). Some estimate that exposure to second hand smoke is responsible for as many as 2 million extra ear infections each year in the US. Reducing exposure ...Read more


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Are you really exposed to second hand smoke just by passing by people who smoke, or is it just an odor?

Are you really exposed to second hand smoke just by passing by people who smoke, or is it just an odor?

The closer you are!: The closer you are and the duration are the most important factors, aside from being indoor vs outdoor. ...Read more

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I was exposed to second hand smoke for about 15 minutes. Should I be concerned about health consequences?

I was exposed to second hand smoke for about 15 minutes. Should I be concerned about health consequences?

Not at all: That wouldn't hurt anybody, unless they had a reactive airway disorder (asthma/bronchitis,) in which case the effect would be almost immediate. Carry on, and good luck. ...Read more

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Exposed to second hand smoke. But there are so many degrees of second hand smoke; are some not dangerous?

Exposed to second hand smoke. But there are so many degrees of second hand smoke; are some not dangerous?

No: Even a little is russian roulette. Why do this to your babies, your children? I know you love them. Step outside. Why continually expose them to about 30+ nasty chemicals? ...Read more

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Are you exposed to second hand smoke just walking passed people who smoke?

Are you exposed to second hand smoke just walking passed people who smoke?

Yes - a little: I generally avoid such smoke if visible, but like to make a theatrical cough when I have no choice but to walk by such people who are dumb enough (or addicted enough) to do their best to destroy their own lungs with smoking. ...Read more

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Do you think I should have my newborn exposed to second hand smoke?

Do you think I should have my newborn exposed to second hand smoke?

Increased Illness: The effect of second hand smoke on children is well documented. It has proportionally greater effect on the younger children where it can double or triple the risk of respiratory disease. (ear & sinus infections, bronchitis, pneumonia)the effect is seen even at low smoke levels such that a chronic smoker would not be able to smell the smoke. Problems skyrocket if they smoke with kids present. ...Read more

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I've been exposed to second hand smoke. How at risk for cancer am i?

I've been exposed to second hand smoke. How at risk for cancer am i?

Depends on the: Exposure. Serious second-hand smoke exposure causing the potential for an increase in head/neck cancer and lung cancer (on the order of 10-20% over baseline) has been reported in people who work in bars/restaurants where smoking is permitted, and in people living in homes where there are smokers, or other regular and heavy exposure to smoke. If your exposure was limited, your risk is very small. ...Read more

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How many people exposed to second hand smoke will end up getting cancer?

How many people exposed to second hand smoke will end up getting cancer?

Alot: There are close to 54, 000 deaths a year attributed to second hand tobacco exposure. ...Read more

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Can you let me know how many people exposed to second hand smoke get cancer?

Secondhand smoke...: From the us national cancer institute: at least 69 chemicals in secondhand smoke cause cancer. Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in nonsmokers. Secondhand smoke has also been associated with heart disease, sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections, and asthma attacks. There is no safe level of exposure. Approximately 3, 000 lung cancer deaths occur each year in the us from sedondhand smoke. ...Read more

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Can children exposed to second hand smoke actually expel smoke from their lungs?

Can children exposed to second hand smoke actually expel smoke from their lungs?

Minimal: The second hand smoke, a much smaller concentration than directly inhaled smoke from a cigarette, will coat the interior lining of the lung and little will be exhaled. The solution: don't smoke around your kids (go outside) or quit altogether for the sake of your health (do you want to be sickly or perhaps die before your kids grow up?). ...Read more

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Does being exposed to second hand smoke occasionally make me vulnerable to get cancer?

Does being exposed to second hand smoke occasionally make me vulnerable to get cancer?

Yes, possible: That is the reason smoking is not allowed in public places to prevent exposure to second hand smoking, ti non smokers. ...Read more

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When children are exposed to second hand smoke, can you see any smoke coming from their lungs?

When children are exposed to second hand smoke, can you see any smoke coming from their lungs?

No: But the effect of smoke accumulates in their lungs and predisposes them to asthma and lung infections. ...Read more

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Of the total of people who are exposed to second hand smoke, how many of them would get cancer?

Of the total of people who are exposed to second hand smoke, how many of them would get cancer?

It is: Clearly a risk, but the measure is of tyhise exposed versus those not exposed, and cases observed versus expected. Epidemiologist don not provide straight answers, or answer questions with simple answers. ...Read more

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If I have been exposed to second hand smoke all my life, is there a good chance i'll get cancer?

If I have been exposed to second hand smoke all my life, is there a good chance i'll get cancer?

Higher than normal: Not a "good" chance but higher than if you had not been exposed, about 10, 000 people in the us get lung cancer attributable to second hand smoke compared to over 400, 000 cases per year in smokers. ...Read more

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Can children exposed to second hand smoke have long term lung changes?

Can children exposed to second hand smoke have long term lung changes?

Yes: Long term exposure in a small space almost guarantees uri, ear infection, bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia and sadly cancer to those genetically prone. ...Read more

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Can people who are exposed to second hand smoke become addicted to cigarettes?

Can people who are exposed to second hand smoke become addicted to cigarettes?

No: They can suffer some i'll health effect from second hand smoke? But not become addicted to ciigarettes. ...Read more

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How many people exposed to second hand smoke get lung cancer?

How many people exposed to second hand smoke get lung cancer?

11, 000/year in US: About 11, 000 cases/year of cancer in the us are attributable to second hand tobacco smoke, compared to about 400, 000 from smoking. ...Read more

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