We all need clean air to live healthy and enriching lives. All too often, this fundamental right seems too obvious in our ever increasingly
Whenever we talk about air pollution, we all tend to point our fingers at industry, traffic and open burning, among others, as the chief culprits. But if we really
How Smoking Harms
It is a common misconception among cigarette smokers that they are hurting only themselves. The truth is they are not hurting only themselves, but also the earth, and everybody and everything on it, in our generation, and the generations to come.
Studies show that cigarettes contain over 4,000 chemicals which are exhaled and released into the air. Research shows air pollutionÊemitted by cigarettes is 10 times greater than diesel car exhaust. Environmental tobacco smoke produces fine particulate matter, which is the most dangerous element of air pollution for health.
Trees are often compared to the lungs in our bodies because they perform basically the same functions as our lungs do, albeit on a global scale. With all the pollutants that trees already filter out for us, it is illogical for any of us to add more to the air that does not need to be added. We need to breathe, but no one needs to smoke.
While the problem is invisible to us, the fact is that fine dust or particulate matter (PM) ranging from 10µm (PM10) to as tiny as 2.5µm (PM2.5) can cause serious lung and heart health problems. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that two million people die every year from small particulate matter in the air. Other health problems are coming to light. For instance, a recent study showed a correlation between higher levels of particulate air pollution and higher numbers of babies born with low birth weights.
Thanks to the aggressive anti-smoking campaigns carried out by the public and private sectors, people living in Malaysia have become more and more educated on the various forms of heart disease, lung disease and cancers caused by smoking. It is also common knowledge that smoking causes discoloration of fingernails and teeth as well as other cosmetically damaging effects.
However, one of the most overlooked issues in the whole equation is the deadly effects of second-hand smoke. According to Article 8 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, an international health treaty signed and ratified by Malaysia, scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease
The WHO guidelines state there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, which contributes to a range of serious and often fatal diseases, including heart disease, respiratory illness, and lung and other cancers. Completely smoke-free environments with no exceptions are the only proven way to protect people from second-hand smoke.
It is interesting to note that the WHO guidelines stipulate that separate smoking rooms and ventilation systems do not prevent second-hand smoke exposure. Governments are expected to maintain strong support for laws once they are enacted through proactive and uniform enforcement that achieves high compliance levels.
Besides the WHO strongly-worded guidelines on second-hand smoke, various studies have also confirmed that second-hand smoke contains carcinogens, toxic metals
The MRI scan used was a special type which uses
Impact on babies, children
Babies of expectant mothers and newborn children exposed to second-hand smoke are more prone to sudden infant death syndrome. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children, adds the report.
In view of the deadly effects of smoking and second-hand smoke, it is obvious that we all need to work together to restore our fundamental right to clean air, and Health fully supports any effort towards a cleaner and healthier environment. – The Health