Latest Research on Secondhand Smoking

Smoking is bad for us – we know that. But it’s our shout surely? If we want to put our health at risk, that’s up to us. Isn’t it?

Well, no – not really, I’m afraid. Treating those smoking-related diseases costs us all more than smokers contribute in taxes…despite claims to the contrary.


And, no – not if you care about your non-smoking family and friends who, research shows, are also being put at risk by second-hand-smoke. A US study, from the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, investigated the cardiovascular health of almost 22,000 participants, and found that non-smokers who reported exposure to second-hand-smoke had a 30% increase in their risk of stroke. And what’s more worrying is that this risk stayed at 30%, even when the results were adjusted for other stroke factors, such as diabetes and heart disease. Which means that even if you are a non-smoker with the cleanest bill of health, you still have a 30% higher risk of stroke if you are constantly subjected to the smoking habits of others.

Of course, legislation is now in place to stop smoking in public, but that doesn’t stop people from smoking in many other environments where non-smokers might end up inhaling their second-hand-smoke. Do we stop visiting friends or family members who choose to smoke in their own home, for example – or share a car with a smoker? And I hate having to run the gauntlet of smokers who congregate outside the doors of shops, office buildings and even my hospital – I hold my breath and make a dash for it!

So, even if you can’t summon the willpower to stop smoking for your own health – perhaps the thought that you may be affecting the health of those closest to you could be enough to help you kick the habit.

And don’t worry – whilst a lot of smokers are concerned that they will pile on the weight as a result, studies show that this isn’t actually the case.

No excuses then!

Malek AM, Cushman M, Lackland DT, Howard G, McClure LA. Secondhand smoke exposure and stroke: The Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. American Journal of Preventative Medicine. 2015