Second hand smokers not safe?

I live in Singapore and the government has been airing alot of anti- smoking commercials about second hand smokers are equally at risk of getting cancer.

I’m curious cause some of my friends smoke and so does most of my family members(2 sisters, my dad, all my uncles) How does second hand smoking affect me? assuming i’m hanging out with at least one of them every day for an hour.

Plus i heard that this guy got lung cancer because his dad smoked alot even though he doesnt.

The idea is that the smoker is inhaling the fumes through a filter. You, on the other hand, are subject to the identical fumes only without the benefit of a filter to remove larger particles. Ultimately, since the same chemicals are entering your body, your body is expected to react as if you were a regular smoker.

Of course there is an issue of dilution. There’s no way that you would be subjected to the same dosage as you father on a per cigarette basis.

From Robert M. Julien, A Primer of Drug Action (ninth edition):

I just realized that that quote contains no relevant information about the amount of exposure needed to cause severe effects like cancer and heart disease, but my impression has always been that it’s pretty high. Having a bunch of friends and a number of family members who smoke might do it, though–obviously this is only anecdotal, but I had a friend who had major problems (had to have a couple surgeries, etc.) with her lungs due to her parents’ smoking.

From this American Cancer Society site

Though I should point out there are other views on this. From the British Medial Journal

Clue - the ACS site cited above says “Full-term infants born to women who smoke weigh approximately 7 ounces less than those born to non-smokers.”

That 7-ounces is your clue that they made this stuff up. If the birth weight was presented as women who are smokers will have a baby whose birthweight is X percentage lower than if they didn’t smoke, that might mean something.

One baby might weigh 7 ounces less than another baby for any number of reasons – that’s what babies weigh in that family, the mother is a tiny Asian woman, the mother is a crackhead, the mother is 13. Hmmm. Do you think that Asians, crackhead, and the kind of 13-year olds who get pregnant might also be the type who are, statistically, likely to smoke? I’m not disputing the low-birth weight link for women who smoke, I’m pointing out that this bullet list is done in BS style.

We know about low birth weight because, women who were basically like other women except for their nicotine habit had babies with lower birth weights. (Although it’s possible this is because, in general, they ate less, it is still the case that the end result is smaller baby, at greater risk if something goes wrong.) This is how science works. Look at what science has to say about the second-hand smoke claims.

Oh, I don’t mean to be snitty. I’m not angry at you. I’m mad at people who will make up crap because they can’t trust people to think (that is, people who truly want people to take better care of themselves, but feel they must use hysterical exaggerations to achieve that) and people who are up to no good (lawyers).

I’m guessing you’re talking to me. That’s fine, I don’t mind one way or the other. However, the ACS bullets are based on an International Agency for Research on Cancer document from 2002.

And from American Medical Women’s Association

seems to address your concerns. I suppose the 7 oz handed out is to address the fact that 7 oz out of a 7# 8 oz baby would by ~6%. The 7 oz numbers seems to give greater weight to the impact on the baby. It also seems to be an excerpted from a 1995 book. Possibly this “7 oz” thing has simply embedded itself into the literature. :dubious:

whao hey, i didnt mean to stir up rants… But i was just curious if it was “really” a serious problem. Seems to me that it is… but no point finding this out without having any solution to it. At least I’ll tell my family not to smoke around me cause i wanna live longer :), and… thanx to you i have “something” to scare em with.

Cecil points out that the most important studies on the subject are fudged, and that this time the weasels may be right.

Even scientists want to believe the obvious connection between second hand smoke and cancer, but when people say “prove it,” the best the EPA can come up after a slow-cooking the data is a 19% increased risk.

weasels? :slight_smile:

Hey Israfell,

Note that it may not be merely the secondhand smoke you should worry about. Smokers have an increased chance of lower respiratory tract infection. Here’s a hypothesis for you: merely hanging around smokers, whether they are smoking at the time or not, increases your chance of contracting a respiratory tract infection. To my knowledge, no data is available to support or disprove this hypothesis. However, it may be prudent for you to wear a respirator when spending time with your friends and family.


Right, right, we all know that correlation is not the same thing as causation. Presumably you also got into a huff when Cecil claimed that studies say that smoking “prevents or at least slows the onset of Alzheimer’s disease” when really all he’s pointing out is correlation, not causation.

So wait. Are you really saying what I think you’re saying?

Let’s break this down.

Two people in a closed room. One smokes, one does not.

The smoke coming from the cigarette is filtered into the smoker, while it isn’t going into the non-smoker. Thus, the non-smoker is at more of a risk because the larger particles.

So what happens when the smoker takes the cigarette from his mouth? Wouldn’t he be taking in the same larger particles at that time considering the filter is no longer present?

Your government is a bunch of idiots and liars. The World Health Organization did an enormous and comprehensive study on the risks of second hand smoke. Their conclusions were that it was simply insignificant.

Here is their study:;90/19/1440.pdf

Actually, just to put a hole in the airheads of antismokers, nicotine has been shown specifically to reduce secretion of the toxic amyloid beta protein that is strongly implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.

There are idiots who have taken the whole “correlation is not causation” mantra far too far. Sometimes, correlation very well may point to a causative connection.

All lies based on junk science, pseudoscience, and scientific fraud. These people are cultists, not scientists. Go read the real science. The claims that the ACS makes are based on crap like the pack of juggled, fiddled, fudged, and dishonest crap published by the EPA.

The World Health Organization did an HONEST study, and it turned out to contradict the anti-smoking cultists’ lies.

Hey Seven,

Yeah, you’ve picked up on a point that many people overlook. Obviously, a smoker will be inhaling unfiltered smoke as well as filtered smoke. The nonsmoker will only be inhaling unfiltered smoke. It is a fallacy to state that somehow the nonsmoker is more at risk for cancer/heart disease than is the nonsmoker.


Apoptosis/Seven did you miss the part were I specifically mentioned dilution?

Dogface did you miss the part where I cited the study basically refuting the ACS?

I heard that a recent UCLA study (actually, it was conducted by UCLA and a school in England, I think) shows that secondhand tobacco smoke doesn’t really do anything (other than the problems it may cause asthmatics and such). My dad smokes and I don’t have any respiratory problems (although he usually only smokes outside)…although I have seen someone get “messed up” by inhaling second-hand smoke from something other than tobacco.

Personally, I think you should tell family and friends not to smoke around you because it bothers you (if it in fact does). If I smoked, that would be a good enough reason for me to find another place to do it.

I also think there are much better reasons not to smoke than an unproven load of government BS. For example: Nicotine is extremely addictive, cigarettes keep getting more and more expensive, there’s a significant stigma attached to smoking in public (at least in California), first-hand tobacco smoke has been proven to cause cancer, etc.