We know that smoking habits are dangerous to smokers but do we especially the smoker know the outcome of the smoking activity itself can endanger the health of the people surrounding the smoker? Hereby, I want to clarify the term of Second-hand tobacco smoke (SHS) or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) that refer to tobacco smokes diluted with the surrounding ambient air that released from a smoking activity. It comes from a mainstream smoke exhaled by a smoker, and a side stream smoke from the lighted of tobacco product. The side stream smoke is more dangerous because it has higher concentrations of cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) and it also have smaller particles that can easily make their way into the lungs and the cells of the body.
The effect of SHS totally more to the non-smoker when she or he inhaled the smokes from the smoking activity and these people are also known as involuntary or passive smokers. There’s no safe level of exposure for SHS. Many research has been conducted and it’s proven that SHS have adverse health effects to passive smokers. Here there is a question to all smokers that do you think a non-smoker like the odor of your smoke? If your answer is yes, you are totally wrong. In that case, why you smoke in your car, you always open your car windows? There is also a study that shows SHS is linked to mental and emotional changes and depression when non-smoker is exposed to SHS. One of the research is also proving that SHS exposure is positively associated with symptoms of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition (DSM-IV). Other than that, SHS significantly increase the risk of cancers especially lung cancer. Sadly, SHS also effects a pregnant woman and unborn child health that causes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, preterm delivery and low birth weight.
The exposure of SHS is very extensive that affecting from family members to the public. From the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Malaysia that been conducted by Ministry of Health Malaysia in 2011 shows that 4 out of every 10 adults were exposed to SHS at home, 4 in 10 were exposed to SHS in indoor workplaces and more than 8 in 10 adults were exposed to SHS when visiting cafes/coffee shops/bistros and almost 8 in every 10 adults were exposed when visiting bars/nightclubs, 7 in 10 adults were exposed to SHS when visiting restaurants, which equates to 42% of the entire adult population, 20% of adults were exposed to SHS when visiting government buildings and 28% of adults were exposed to SHS when using public transportation and sadly almost 9% of adults were exposed to SHS when visiting health-care facilities. This survey show us how much we are not safe from the SHS. Can smoking rooms prevents the SHS? No because the SHS is consists of Fine Particulates Matters (PM2. 5). It is very easily escape through the tiny spaces available in smoking rooms such as door slits and ceilings. The situation is exacerbated if the specification of ventilation of the said room does not meet the standard requirement. Otherwise the cost of maintaining the smoking rooms is quite expensive to get it functioning at optimum levels, and the attitude of smoking room users who do not close the door frequently occurs. The only way to eliminate the exposure SHS in indoor environment is by banning any smoking activity in indoor environments including the smoking rooms. It was the only science-based measure that been proved adequately protects people’s health from the dangerous effects of SHS in any indoor environment.
The Control of Tobacco Product Regulations 2004 is one of the most enforceable legislation to protect the public from the detrimental effects of tobacco products. The regulations are in line with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) planned by the WHO in addressing the problem of tobacco products. The regulations cover from tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, tobacco packaging and labeling and the smoke free environment under regulation 11 (1). The addition on this non-smoking area are being increased from year to year and the latest non-smoking area is public park. There are some suggestions and surveys has been done by the Ministry of Health to make the all food premises a non-smoking area. The contravention of this regulation liable to be fine not exceeding ten thousand ringgits or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years. Although the enforcement of this regulation is often carried out, it also requires awareness among the public regarding the dangers of smoking and the smokers must learn respecting the rights of non-smokers. Finally, a smoker can kill someone simply by smoking in the house, workplace and public places with the ego that will harm him and the surrounding people who shares the air.
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