Smoking Effects: First-Hand Second-Hand Third-Hand and Banned

Smoking effects have varying degrees of health consequences depending on whether a person directly smokes cigarettes first-hand, is breathing second-hand smoke or even being exposed from a third-hand perspective. Since all pose significant health risks, more is being done to implement bans for public safety. In general, smoking can harm nearly all organs in the body. It is confirmed that cell mutation is a serious side-effect as a result of nicotine exposure.

Researchers from Virginia Bioinformatics Institute discovered that it was not all that safe to utilize nicotine-infused smoking cessation products to assist smokers in breaking the habit. Nicotine has carcinogenic properties that literally alter the DNA in cells. A professor of biological science with the Virginia Tech Carillion School of Medicine and with the College of Science, along with Jasmin Bavarva, a geneticist, uncovered thousands of mutations caused by nicotine when exposed to single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). These patterns of mutations indicate oxidative stress which are indicative of a cancer precursor. This discovery has broadened the view of genomic effects in nicotine, which confirms that it can promote a cancer state and should not be used in cig cessation. This finding clearly shows the direct effect nicotine vapor emissions can have in the body.

Cigarettes increases risk for stroke and heart disease by two to four times, and  increases risk for lung cancer by 25 times. Not only does smoking increase absenteeism from work, but also causes overall health to be diminished which increases the need for health care and the cost that comes with it. The leading cause of death in the United States is coronary heart disease and stroke which is directly related to the effects of smoking. Blood vessels are damaged by cigarette smoke in that the smoke can thicken the walls, making them narrower, thus preventing the heart from receiving enough oxygen. This results in damaging the heart muscle. Clotting can cause either a heart attack or stroke.

Lung diseases caused by smoking include emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma and lung cancer. Non-smokers are 12 to 13 times less likely to die from these respiratory illnesses than the actual smoker.

Cancer knows no boundaries when it comes to smoking. It is likely to attack anywhere in the body including bladder, kidney and ureter, cervix, colon, rectum, pancreas, stomach, trachea, bronchus, lung, parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate and tonsils, larynx, esophagus, liver, and blood. The risk of dying from cancer is increased in all people who are exposed. It has been observed that if  “no one smoked” at least one in every three deaths in the United States could be prevented. Knowing the broad range of effects that cigarette vapors have on all people, public safety measures are becoming more widespread to protect individuals from the first-hand, second-hand and third-hand effects of smoking by instating more bans.

Although there are numerous other first-hand health risks for smokers, the second-hand health risks are not to be taken lightly. Second-hand smoke is defined as the emissions coming from the end of a burning cigarette as well as what is being exhaled by the smoker. More than 7,000 chemicals are polluting the air from this second-hand smoke, of which hundreds are toxic and 70 of those are known to cause cancer. According to the Surgeon General’s Report, since 1964, deaths caused by breathing second-hand smoke have surpassed the 2.5 million mark.

Second-hand smoke does not offer a risk-free level of exposure. Second-hand smoke creates a vast amount of problems in children and infants, including asthma, ear infections, respiratory infections as well as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Parents are advised by the Centers for Disease Control to protect their children from smoke at all costs.  Non-smokers suffer many of the same health risks as do smokers, including damage to lining of blood vessels, resulting in heart attacks and strokes, along with increased susceptibility to lung cancer and other respiratory illnesses.

Third-hand smoke has to do with the remaining contamination that exists after the cigarette has been put out. A pediatrician at the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center in Boston, Johnathan Winickoff, has recently authored a study exposing the toxins that remain in clothes, carpets, sofas, etc., and has coined the phrase “third-hand smoke.” Winickoff’s research team is concerned with the build-up of toxicity over time. The toxins accumulate layer upon layer and the exposure has been linked to diminished IQ’s. Dangerous compounds found in cigarette smoke are cyanide and arsenic. Cyanide is used in chemical weapons and prohibits oxygen from being released into tissues. Arsenic is used to kill rats. Another researcher, Director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, agreed that the levels of cigarette toxicity are astronomical in comparison to other forms of environmental toxins.

Cigarette smoke, whether first-hand, second-hand or third-hand, offers no risk free boundaries. In the United States alone, first-hand smoke contributes to more than 480,000 deaths per year, which equates to one in five. Second-hand smoke snuffs out 34,000 lives prematurely each year. Third-hand smoke is silently lurking and now suspected to be the number one cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), due to the rapid respiration of infants, which means they get 20 time more exposure than an adult in the same space.

The most recent ban put into place in the United States is at Cape Cod National Seashore. The ban begins June 19, 2014, for the Cape’s six popular beaches. Chief Ranger Leslie Reynolds commented that smoking will be prohibited within 400-600 yards of all lifeguards on duty. Violators will be charged a fine of $50. Their goal is to educate smokers. First time offenders will likely be issued an oral or written warning. The ban came as a result of a number of complaints regarding second-hand smoke. Barricades will indicate where smokers can and cannot light up.

Public concern and safety is on the rise. Parents are recognizing the dangers and desiring to protect their little ones. Awareness of the effects of first-hand, along with second-hand and third-hand smoke is promoting action to ban the hazards of cigarette vapor emissions  for the sake of public safety.

By Jill Boyer-Adriance

CDC: Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking
CDC: Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke
Scientific American
The Boston Globe

3 Responses to "Smoking Effects: First-Hand Second-Hand Third-Hand and Banned"

  1. Kevin M   June 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    When asked to distinguish the difference between Hitler’s healthcare “movement” and the modern healthcare “movement”. The sound of crickets is deafening, proving without question, not only what they believe, but what they fear, is the complete truth.

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    ― C.S. Lewis

  2. Kevin M   June 17, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    An amazing collection of many years of ad agency promotions not missing a single talking point or claim made. The credibility of which, really comes down to “following the money and considering the sources”. It distracts widely from the authors dialog when we realize most of the plagiarized comments herein, were paid for by the very drug industry sector, that would gain the most in profits, from a mood of medical terrorism. With the balance donated by life long fanatics, in the anti-smoker fields of expertise. People who deserve a pacifier far more than appeasement. Hasn’t the reign of dehumanist cults overstayed it’s welcome? People who define “those people” are the root of every bigotry and hateful sentiment, that are responsible for an end to non judgmental medicine. We are returning to a time where Doctors and not the patient had the say, in the reign over their own bodies. A return to a time we can only see as shameful.

    I would say to this collector of entitlements, to consider the moat and beam. Hypocrites with nasty crooked fingers will learn in time, the choices here are not theirs to make. with all of our rights guranteed in the same document who is this hatred hurting more than the promoter? We learned the hard lessons of eugenicists and prohibitionists and their hatred, that should never be seen as science or credible today, nor should it ever be. The kind of science that promoted smoking bans, is exclusively of the “risk management” category. This is telling of their little scheme. Risk is in reality emotional belief, having nothing to do with real dangers, they can not demonstrate. They can inflame fear and divided neighbors if we all stand silent, and that is where they decided to go. With only two motivators of social engineering available; Pleasure and pain. The later is much easier shortcut, with a claim to a majority on their side. People are not naturally negative in Public Relations. They have to be trained, this article exemplifies that training.

    What did you learn?

  3. Rob Moffatt   June 17, 2014 at 8:43 am


    A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million.1 Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.2, 2a

    The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million.3 The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million.4 The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.5

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