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The risk of passive smoking
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The risk of passive smoking

Passive smoking has several subtle as well as overt pulmonary effects. It is an established risk factor for lung cancer in non-smoking persons

Post by on Monday, December 20, 2021

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Passive smoking has become the growing threat to the existence of human life on earth. Non smokers involuntarily inhale the smoke of nearby smokers which is more harmful to them than to the actual smokers. This is because side stream smoke contains three times more nicotine, three times more tar and fifty times more ammonia. Therefore passive smoking has several subtle as well as overt pulmonary effects. It is an established risk factor for lung cancer in non-smoking persons. It has a significant risk factor for respiratory symptoms and asthma. Passive smoking can also lead to a poor lung function, small airway dysfunction and increased bronchial hyper-responsiveness in non smokers.

Smoking at public places is a violation of Article 21 of the Constitution. It adversely affects the life of the citizens by slow and insidious poisoning. Under Article 21 every citizen has a right to live with human dignity, free from exploitation then why should non smoker be deprived of this right. Why the second hand smoker, who has to inhale the smoke involuntarily, is put in jeopardy. In any case there is no reason to compel non smokers to be helpless victims of air pollution. Right to life guaranteed under constitution includes the right to healthy environment. Our government has a pre-emptive duty to protect the rights of people.

No doubt we are having some legislative provisions to curb this public nuisance which render smoking at public places as offence punishable and in case of disobedience of such law the punishment may extend to six months imprisonment. But unfortunately our enforcement agency which has a proactive role to play is not delivering its responsibility effectively due to which the required aim isn’t achieved. People have also a great role to play in controlling this menace. Public must exercise their right and come forward to help the enforcement mechanism to put an end to this deadly virus. Every law is helpless until it is brought into the motion. The government should assure the complete prohibition of smoking at public places.

There is also a need to draw widespread attention to the prevalence of tobacco use and its negative health effects. The campaigns should be devised in such a manner that people play active role in combating the menace. Senior government officials should ensure strict ban on smoking in their respective government departments. Similarly, heads of educational institutes should keep vigil on student activities. NGOs have been playing a vital role in addressing issues of public concern. The government should engage them in the noble cause. Collective efforts in checking cigarette smoking and tobacco consumption can go a long way in addressing the issue.

(The Author is a Social Activist and Freelancer)  

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