When Barbra Streisand sang the song "Secondhand Rose," she lamented that, "It's no wonder that I feel abused. I never get a thing that ain't been used."
Exposure to secondhand smoke is even more abusive. When researchers analyzed a large-scale World Health Organization data set on global smoking behavior, they discovered that for every 50 lifetime smokers, one nonsmoker dies from secondhand smoke exposure.
Here at home, every 90 smokers are related to one death. Tighter restrictions on smoking in public mean it takes more smokers to cause such harm.
Every year worldwide, smokers contribute to the 880,000 secondhand smoke-related deaths among individuals who do not smoke, including more than 20,000 a year in the U.S.
And secondhand smoke pollution produces third-hand problems because the smoke permeates clothing, curtains, furniture, and car interiors. A Yale study published in the journal Science Advances found that sitting next to a smelly smoker in a theater can expose you to toxins that are equivalent to smoking one to 10 cigarettes.
Over time, third-hand smoke exposure can trigger serious health problems, especially for children because the particles from third-hand smoke are smaller, have multiple exposure routes, and remain longer on clothes and furniture.
Kids who live in homes of smokers have 3.5 times higher risk of going to an emergency department or urgent care center than kids who live in homes with no tobacco exposure.
So if you know someone who smokes or vapes, offer to help them breathe free – so you can too.