You hear this diagnosis and your heart drops into your stomach. One of the leading causes of lung cancer is smoking. The smoke inhaled from cigarettes causes dangerous chemicals to be released inside of the body. Imagine a confetti cannon going off inside your body. Now instead of confetti think about cigarette smoke inside the cannon, travelling around your body, specifically your lungs – one of your major organs. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are 250 harmful chemicals that can be found in tobacco smoke and at least 69 of these chemicals are known to cause cancer.
Smoke lingers in the air. The carcinogens found in smoke form tiny particles, that when breathed in, can be detrimental, especially for non-smokers and in particular children. People with asthma and other breathing difficulties are at greater risk from the cancer-forming chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
Smoke also lingers in fabric. The most common material used to make furniture and clothes is microfiber, which is a synthetic fiber. The material is super absorbent, which means that smoke sticks to it for days until it gets washed. Exposure to this smoke is called third-hand smoke. Even when the smell has been eliminated from the air, the residue on clothes and furniture still poses a risk of causing lung cancer.
Of course, smokers say it’s hard to quit, and it is. Imagine having a craving that has brought you so much satisfaction and is there at all time, whether you like it or not.
If you are a smoker and can’t quit, there are still things you can do to lower the impact on the environment. Habits like going to the designated smoking area of a building can greatly diminish the contact that non-smokers have with the smoke from a cigarette. Washing your hands right after smoking also helps in not only getting rid of the ash that accumulates on your hands but it also gives off a positive odor and causes that smoke lingering smell to go away. Wash your clothes regularly. If you are an environmentalist, hang your clothes out to get natural sunlight as much as possible. Clean furniture regularly. To remove the smell from couches, sprinkle a little baking soda, leave it overnight and vacuum. Using a wet cloth with a little bleach to clean things like the remote, the house phone and other household items is a must, especially if you have children. Most importantly, take the necessary steps to quit this habit. Cancer is no joke, and although life is short, why make it shorter than it has to be?
About the Author
Felecia Bhangu is a 23 year old living in Toronto, Canada. She is currently pursuing a degree in political science at the University of Toronto. She hopes to incite thought and conversation through the pieces she shares on social media and strives to live her life as an example of what clean living, an active lifestyle, and simple gestures of kindness can accomplish. She is passionate about writing and has been involved in various leadership programs provided through the university. She receives inspiration from travelling and meeting new people in order to understand a different way of life.