Stressful cigarettes – how passive smoking affects stress level?

iStock_000009024892XSmallEverybody knows detrimental impact of secondhand smoke on human health. Annually worldwide because of passive smoking 600,000 people die. The exposure to tobacco smoke contributes not only to the prevalence of physical disease, including depression, but also causes serious lung and cardiovascular disease, such as lung cancer, heart failure and ischemic heart disease. Exposure of pregnant women to passive smoking, is associated with low birth weight newborns and the occurrence of asthma in children.

Recent studies, show also impact of passive smoking on a higher level of stress in people exposed to tobacco smoke.

Stress is a major problem of mankind today. Chronic exposure to stress causes a number of serious changes in the body, such as a immunodeficiency, the exacerbation of existing chronic diseases. It contributes also to the development of depression. In addition, stress is suggested as a major risk factor for suicide.

Therefore the researchers from the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a study, which purpose was to investigate the association between passive smoking and the occurrence of stress in exposed persons. The study involved nearly 34 thousand participants. Smokers, ex-smokers and never-smokers were analyzed separately. Their stress level was measured depending on the exposure to tobacco smoke at home, work, or in both places. The occurrence and severity of stress was measured using a questionnaire completed by the participants. Respondents assessed their stress on a scale of 1 to 4, where 1 meant lack of stress, and 4 very big stress.

The study showed that passive smoking is associated with higher stress level in exposed people, compared to nonsmoking people. There is also evidence that never smokers were more exposed to stress, than smokers and ex-smokers.

Secondhand inhalation of tobacco smoke by respondents in their house, had more negative effect than exposure to it at work. Moreover the highest stress level was observed in people who were exposed to passive smoking in both places.

In conclusion, the passive inhalation of tobacco smoke in places where people live on a daily basis, contributes to an increased risk of developing stress reactions. For this reason, it is extremely important to draw attention to the problem of the prohibition of smoking in public places. Implementation of these restrictions contributes to the reducing exposure to passive inhalation of tobacco smoke, and thereby to reducing unnecessary stress, which in turn leads to improved public health.

Written by: Agnieszka Grzechnik, Krzysztof Grzechnik, Justyna Podgórska

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