Tobacco, Non Communicable Diseases and their Prevention


Thirdhand smoke (THS) is a term used to describe the residual contamination from tobacco smoke that lingers in rooms long after smoking stops and remains on our clothes after we leave a smoky place. THS mixes and settles with dust, drifts down to carpeting and furniture surfaces. It lingers in the hair, skin, clothing, and fingernails of smokers — so a mother who doesn’t smoke in front of her kids, smokes outside, then comes inside and holds the baby is exposing that child to thirdhand smoke.

Babies, toddlers, and children are most vulnerable to the toxic effects of tobacco smoke residue. They crawl on rugs, fall asleep on carpets, and teethe on furniture, all of which could be saturated with thirdhand smoke. It could also be responsible for other health problems, including asthma attacks and allergic reactions.

These new compounds are difficult to clean up, and have a long life of their own. One of those compounds, a tobacco-specific nitrosamine known as NNA, damages DNA and could potentially cause cancer.


When non-smokers are exposed to SHS it’s called involuntary smoking or passive smoking. Non-smokers who breathe in SHS take in nicotine and toxic chemicals the same way smokers do. The more SHS you breathe, the higher the levels of these harmful chemicals in your body. SHS has the same chemicals that smokers inhale and there’s no safe level of exposure for it.

Another disturbing fact is that SHS causes lung cancer – even in people who have never smoked!!!. Secondhand smoke affects the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of heart attack, stroke and other related diseases in non-smokers. There’s also the risk of Tuberculosis infection as a result of exposure to SHS. Some studies have also shown that exposure to SHS could lead to mental and emotional changes and symptoms of depression.


Secondhand smoke (SHS) is a mixture of 2 forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco:

1. The smoke exhaled by a smoker.

2. Smoke from the lighted end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, or tobacco burning in a hookah (Shisha). This type of smoke has higher concentrations of cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) and is more toxic than mainstream smoke. It also has smaller particles than mainstream smoke. These smaller particles make their way into the lungs and the body’s cells more easily.

Smokers are not the only people who can get cancer from tobacco smoke. People around them — their kids, partners, friends, coworkers, and others – breathe in that smoke, too, thereby putting them at a greater risk of having cancer.


Young children are most affected by SHS and least able to avoid it. Most of their exposure to SHS comes from adults (parents or others) smoking at home.

Studies show that children whose parents smoke: Get sick more often, Have more lung infections, Are more likely to cough, wheeze, and have shortness of breath, Get more ear infections, Prone to asthma attacks, make asthma symptoms worse, and even cause new cases of asthma in kids who didn’t have symptoms before.

In very young children, SHS also increases the risk for more serious problems, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS). Any exposure is harmful!!!


You can protect yourself and your family from secondhand smoke by doing the following:

1. Quitting smoking if you are not already a nonsmoker

2. Not allowing anyone to smoke anywhere in or near your home

3. Not allowing anyone to smoke in your car, even with the windows down

4. making sure your children’s day care center and schools are tobacco-free

5. Seeking out restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking (if your state still allows smoking in public areas)

6. Teaching your children to stay away from secondhand smoke

7. Being a good role model by not smoking or using any other type of tobacco.


Substance abuse involves the intake of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other substances that have negative effects on the body system.

The World Health Organization reported that alcoholism alone is responsible for more than 3 million deaths every year in the world.

Non-communicable diseases include cancer, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and cardiovascular diseases and m the major risk factors leading to these diseases are connected to substance abuse.

Smoke from marijuana and tobacco has been shown to contain many of the same toxins, irritants, and carcinogens.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 compounds and at least 70 chemicals that cause cancer. These chemicals are referred to as Carcinogens.

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