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Second Hand Smoke In Cars Cause For Concern

Although the harm of smoking became recognized as a significant problem over the last two decades, the concern for those being exposed to second hand smoke wasn’t seriously considered for some time afterwards, and unfortunately it has been recently revealed that this could have caused potential damage. Science Daily says: “Nonsmokers sitting in an automobile with a smoker for one hour had markers of significantly increased levels of carcinogens and other toxins in their urine, indicating that secondhand smoke in motor vehicles poses a potentially major health risk according to a groundbreaking study led by UC San Francisco researchers.”


The chemicals that were found in these nonsmoking passengers were toxic, and included heightened levels of acrylonitrile, methylating, benzene, butadiene, and ethylene oxide. These specific findings were particularly frightening due to their significance in smoking related diseases.


Published Findings


The information released for these findings was led by a professor of medicine and bioengineering and the chief of clinical pharmacology at the General Hospital of San Fransisco. It was used to measure how people exposed to the chemicals in secondhand smoke reacted and whether or not there was a danger associated with the level of exposure to which patients were exposed. The research was published in the Journal of Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention in November of 2014 by the AACR or American Association for Cancer Research. The Daily Mail reported the following on the study: “Travelling in a car with a smoker for just one hour can damage a person's health, exposing them to dangerous levels of toxic chemicals, new research warns. Non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke from three cigarettes while in the car showed increased levels of carcinogens and other toxins in their urine.”


These findings were found after monitoring patients who underwent travel with smokers in a contained vehicle. The results caused enough of a negative response in subjects that it was conclusive how second hand smoke in close quarters, such as a car, could be just as fatal as smoking a pack of cigarettes.


A Look At The Study


In order to properly understand what second hand smoke in a car can do to a nonsmoker, the team monitored fourteen nonsmoking volunteers who each spent one hour in a parked car with a smoker. In the time spent within the vehicle the smoker had three cigarettes, with windows open only ten centimeters. Before and after exposure the nonsmokers had their urine analyzed for possible components of the toxic chemical compounds of cigarettes which are usually related in cases of cancer. Of course, there are differences to this car and those in motion as there is less wind flow and air coming into the windows, but none the less, the research was conclusive in finding that exposure to this form of second hand smoke was indeed harmful. Lead expert, Gideon St. Helen is quoted by The University of California San Francisco in saying the following: “This tells us that people, especially children and adults with preexisting health conditions such as asthma or a history of heart disease should be protected from secondhand smoke exposure in cars.”


None of the patients being monitored developed any problematic symptoms relating to cancer or asthmatic conditions, but the number of toxins and the levels at which they were found within the urine was enough evidence to prove what was trying to be accomplished with this study. The findings made it clear that riding in a car, or parking in a car with a smoker can increase chances of cancer and cancer related toxins in a nonsmoker’s body.


Who Should Heed These Warnings


Unfortunately smoking is still a huge problem across North America and on a global scale, and with all of the medical information out there letting people know the problems associated with tobacco, young people begin smoking all over the country every single day. Many people don’t realize just how dangerous smoking can be to those around them, but laws are changing in places like Nova Scotia, Canada, where it is now illegal to smoke in a vehicle with a child present. This is a long stretch from the 80’s and even the 90’s when you would see parents smoking with small children in the backseat and the windows rolled up all the way. The effect of the cigarette smoke on those children could be alarming, especially if it was a habit that occurred often. It might be an impossible goal to make smokers take heed of these findings and quit all together, but it is enough of an accomplished discovery to shut down the legal abilities of smokers to tarnish the lungs of nonsmokers while trapped in moving or parked vehicles.


Taking a stand against second hand cigarette smoke is as simple as refusing to get in the car with somebody who is going to light a smoke. The side effects of e-cigarettes and other devices used as alternatives to cigarettes haven’t been provided in this study, but the number of chemicals found within the nicotine being inhaled in these instruments may still prove negative for nonsmokers who happen to be within range of the exhale of such toxins. With such positive steps being taken in the prevention of cancer due to second hand smoke it would be no surprise if there were many more studies like this one performed in the future regarding e-cigarettes, marijuana, and other forms of second hand smoke of vapor and the effect that it has on those around it.

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