Indoor Air Pollution
Most people spend the majority of their time indoors. It is important to know something about the indoor environment on lung health.

Indoor air quality may be degraded by pollutants originating either outdoors or indoors. There are 6 types of indoor air pollutants:
  • Environmental tobacco smoke or second hand smoke
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Formaldehyde
  • Biological Contaminants
  • Radon

Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) or Second-Hand Smoke*

What is environmental tobacco smoke or second hand smoke?

There are three types of tobacco smoke:
  • Mainstream smoke is directly inhaled by the smoker.
  • Sidestream smoke is given off at the burning end of the cigarette. Most toxins and carcinogens are produced in greater amounts in sidestream smoke than in mainstream smoke.
  • Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is a combination of sidestream smoke plus exhaled smoke.

Health effects of exposure to second hand smoke
  • In children, exposure to second hand smoke
    • increases frequency of lower respiratory tract infections requiring hospitalization
    • leads to more frequent chest symptoms such as cough and wheeze
    • is associated with lower lung function
    • increases the risk for developing asthma and the severity of asthma
    • more likely to have middle ear effusion
  • In nonsmoking adults, exposure to second hand smoke
    • aggravates symptoms in asthmatics
    • leads to symptoms of nose and throat irritation
    • reduces lung function
    • doubles the risk of heart attack in those with steady exposure
    • is associated with 2-3 times the risk for developing lung cancer

How easy is it to get rid of nicotine from the air after smoking?
  • It takes about 2 weeks for nicotine to clear from the air in a room after smoking
  • It takes more than one hour to remove 95% of the smoke from just one cigarette
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