Did you know there is a substance that can kill youeven if you don't intentionally consume it? Many adults and children die from it- it's called secondhand smoke. It comes from the smoke that is breathed out by asmoker, as well as the smoke that comes from the end of a burning cigarette. It'salmost as lethal as smoking a cigarette.
Secondhand smoke contains over4,000 chemicals, and of those, 200 are poisons and 43 can cause cancer. It causesabout 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 35,000 heart disease deaths to non-smokerseach year. Some of the many chemicals inhaled are lead, formaldehyde (apoisonous, colorless gas), benzene (which is used in detergents, insecticides andmotor fuels) and ammonia (a pungent gas).
Every time someone lights acigarette near you, you are being forced to breathe in all those chemicals. Youcan get a number of diseases - many fatal - from secondhand smoke, but it isespecially dangerous for children. It is estimated that secondhand smoke isresponsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections inyoung children and because of this, between 7,500 and 15,000 children arehospitalized each year. So if you smoke, try to quit! Otherwise, avoid smokyareas and breathe fresh air.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.