I understand that secondhand smoke is bad for a person on multiple levels. My question is this... Is the cardiovascular damage from exposure permanent or does it go away with time and clean air? Anybody have any insights into this?
That's a very good question. I don't have the answer but I've had the experience of seeing what second hand smoke does to a home.
My Dad passed away last Aug. from lung cancer (he was a heavy smoker as is my Mom). Now we're taking care of things for my Mom around her house. I've always seen the brown tint to the walls and fridge door, on the drapes and sticky residue on the windows, etc. Never thought much of it. But her heater just went out. When they pulled it out to check it, inside was coated with brown goo and any dust that was in there could not be removed. At my home I just use the vacuum to dust the ceiling fan or drapes or heater vents. In their house all the dust is stuck to the smoking residue.
So I can see where second hand smoke going into the lungs would be a problem. I never gave it much thought before now because smoke is so light and fluffy and dissipates quickly. Or so I thought.
Thank you for your reply. My grandmother smoked like a chimney and her apartment was equally sticky, brown and stinky. It was very tough cleaning it after she moved out. I can only imagine what it does to your lungs (and apparently arteries as well). I hope someone has an answer to my question as well.
I'm going to venture a guess. The cigarette smoke increases the clotting activity of the blood and affects the nature of the arterial wall, causing build-up of arterial plaque to occur much faster than otherwise and thus form atherosclerotic lesions that impede blood flow. These lesions are, I would imagine, fairly long-lived and those which become calcified are probably permanent.
That sounds like a well-informed guess. Somewhat disheartening. Many years ago, I worked in an office where many people smoked. You could see it in the air when looking across the room. It was bad. I was there 3 weeks, and I started getting chest pains and quit. Now, whenever I get around smoke, it doesn't take much, I get chest pains in the center of my chest. At my current job, I sit in an office just inside the entrance to the building where the smokers are permitted to smoke. Sometimes they light up in the hallway and smoke by the door. Needless to say, the smoke comes in by me and I get pains in my chest. They are the same as I get when I'm stressed, so it's scarey. I was hoping that the effects from secondhand smoke would be temporary, so that I wouldn't have to worry about the situation there.
I did speak with the facility manager and filed a formal complaint with the building owners. They have sent a notice to all businesses in the building to inform their smokers to curtail lighting up inside the building and to stand away from the door while smoking. It was great for about 1 week. But, they are back to old habbits again. I have again informed the facilities manager. Now, I wait and see again. If that doesn't work, I'll notify the owners, again. If I still don't get smoke free air, I'll consider contacting OSHA. Last resort before I quit. I just worry about my health. Thanks for your input.
Smoking is a vasoconstrictor. It can really be a problem with people who are already vasoconstricted...ie, CAD, coronary artery disease. Even the nicotine patches that people use to help stop smoking have that effect. They can not be worn at our hospital post operatively as it will slow down they healing. The longer someone goes without smoking (after quitting), the more the lungs can recoever, but it will never be 100% again. That why smoking is measured in pack years. The total number matters.. 2 packs a day for 10 years= 20 pack years.
America being the litigious place it is, have the manger tell them they can be sued if anything comes of someone with CAD having a heart attack as the smoking orders are ignored. I know it is an ugly thing to say, but in our country, it's true. When everyone knows about smoking now, I don't know what compels people to keep at it against all good sense.
Thanks for the info, Banglamom. In my written complaint to the building owner, I mentioned that it was a health matter and that for legal reasons, they might consider relocating the smoking area to another entrance that doesn't have offices just inside. There's been a bit of an improvement, except when the weather is foul. I'll see long it lasts and if the owners address this issue with a permanent resolution.
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