The American Heart Association estimates indicate that approximately 37,000 to 40,000 people die each year from heart and blood vessel disease caused by secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is smoke that is exhaled by smokers and smoke emitted from the burning end of a lit cigarette, cigar, or pipe.
Both direct and indirect smoking exposure poses significant health hazards to pregnant women, infants, and young children. Children and infants exposed to tobacco smoke are more likely to experience ear infections and asthma, and are at a higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) than children and infants without the same exposure.
The following common symptoms may be associated with exposure to secondhand smoke. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
- Excessive phlegm (mucus in the airways)
- Chest discomfort from lung irritation
- Chest pain, which may indicate heart disease
The symptoms of secondhand smoke may resemble other medical conditions and problems. Always consult your adolescent's physician for a diagnosis.