Secondhand Smoke Really Is Dangerous
Even after decades of research, some people are still skeptical about whether or no secondhand smoke can really hurt anyone. The idea that smoking itself is bad is less controversial. It has finally become part of the received wisdom that people earn when they are very young. However, many people, particularly smokers, still scoff at the idea that people in the immediate vicinity are going to be harmed by their habit.
It makes sense that smokers will feel this way. Smoking is a very difficult addiction to break, and smokers don’t want to feel that they’re hurting people with their habit in the meantime. Smokers also do not want to feel that there is any sort of moral dimension to what they are doing, other than an outdated puritanical variety of morality. I sympathize with the people who are struggling with this debilitating disease, but there is no getting around the fact that smokers are hurting people when they smoke around them. There is also no such thing as being truly alone in this world and throughout the day, so every cigarette has a price for another person.
When people have asthma and you smoke around them, you risk triggering one of their asthma attacks. This has happened to me on multiple occasions. While it is true that smoking around someone a few times is not going to give them asthma, which is a developmental disease, it is going to be damaging to the people who are already suffering from this terrible condition. Naturally, smoking around children throughout their entire childhoods could very well give them debilitating asthma, and the risk increases with every single cigarette.
Smoking around people can give them respiratory infections. Some people have the immune systems to cope with these sorts of infections. Other people are going to struggle with pneumonia and other respiratory infections, especially older people who have a difficult time fighting off even the most commonplace of illnesses. In any diverse community, you are going to run into people who have immune systems of various strengths. In a condominium complex, you will run into plenty of people who are retired, meaning they are going to be the sort of elderly people who may have compromised immune systems. You will probably also run into people who have disabilities, including asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Secondhand smoke literally causes 34,000 deaths from heart disease per year alone. While the smokers themselves are much more likely to die from heart disease, they are sharing that risk with other people when they smoke around them. Around 7,300 cases of lung cancer every year are caused by secondhand smoke. People who have a family history of these sorts of ailments will be much more likely to be triggered by environmental factors in the immediate environment, and secondhand smoke has always been a potent environmental factor.
Plenty of people with allergies will be more likely to be triggered by secondhand smoke as well, even if they are not specifically allergic to anything within the secondhand smoke on a chemical level. Some environmental stimulants can more or less accomplish the exact same thing. People with allergies will often have respiratory problems and clogged sinuses, and secondhand smoke can aggravate all related conditions.
Smokers don’t mean to hurt other people. They do what they do because they are in the grip of a difficult condition. Many smokers are themselves victims of callous corporations who were perfectly fine with selling addictive poison to other people in order to turn a profit. An addiction to cigarettes should, in fact, be regarded as a disability in its own right, and it is certainly a problem that begets other disabilities. However, disabled people need to be able to form a veritable community in which we respect the rights and needs of other disabled people. Smokers need to be as responsible with their habit as they possibly can be, while keeping the effects of their habit from other people.