A Surprising Truth About Secondhand Smoke

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, A Surprising Truth About Secondhand Smoke, Dr. Nicolle

It’s Wellness Wednesdays! We’ll talk about a surprising truth about secondhand smoke. Smoked cigarettes contain several dangerous chemicals, including nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar. These pose risks to the health of non-smokers, who are exposed to them every day. An estimated 7,000 Americans die every year from secondhand smoke-related illnesses.

 

Secondhand smoke is a serious issue. It can have serious health effects. One of the most common of these is increased risk of cancer. People who are exposed to secondhand smoke are up to 25 percent more likely to develop lung cancer, and up to 40 percent more likely to develop cancer of the trachea and bronchus. In fact, it is estimated that secondhand smoke accounts for about 1 million deaths around the world each year.

 

Unless someone in your household or workplace smokes, you may not give much thought to secondhand smoke. That could be a mistake. A recent study found that many adults significantly underestimate their exposure.

 

Researchers at Mount Sinai used blood tests and questionnaires to examine the issue. Many nonsmokers were unaware they had been exposed to cigarette smoke even though they had nicotine byproducts in their blood at levels that could increase the risk of lung cancer and heart disease.

 

Whether you smoke or not, you can help to reduce secondhand smoke. Consider these steps toward creating a smoke-free environment.

, A Surprising Truth About Secondhand Smoke, Dr. Nicolle

Tips for Smokers

 

1. Try quitting. Of course, the ideal solution is to give up tobacco permanently. Many smokers require more than one attempt before they succeed. Products like nicotine gum can make the process more comfortable.

 

2. Take it outside. Resolve to avoid smoking in your home or car. Go outdoors when you want a cigarette.

 

3. Ditch the ashtrays. It will be easier to resist the temptation to smoke in your living spaces if you make it inconvenient. Throw out ashtrays and lighters or store them out of sight.

 

4. Bundle up. Be prepared for the weather if you take smoke breaks outside. Hang a warm sweater by the door. If it’s excess heat you need to deal with, put up a sun umbrella to shade you from the rays.

 

5. Leave early. With so many smoke-free workplaces and other destinations these days, you may feel like it’s necessary to smoke in your car. How about adding ten minutes to your commute so you can have a cigarette in the parking lot or someplace nearby?

 

6. Wash up. Smoke sticks to your clothing and skin. Rinse off the residue or carry sanitizing hand wipes.

 

7. Manage stress. If you need more time before quitting smoking, you can still cut down by creating substitute habits for responding to stress. How about soothing yourself with a short walk or a cup of tea?

, A Surprising Truth About Secondhand Smoke, Dr. Nicolle

Tips for Nonsmokers

1. Ban indoor smoking. Enforce a no-smoking policy in your home, vehicles, and anywhere else you spend time. Politely ask others to refrain from using tobacco or post a sign. You may want to give your guests advance notice to make compliance smoother.

 

2. Be selective. Choose restaurants and other businesses that ban smoking on their premises. Comprehensive policies are more effective than nonsmoking sections because air drifts around.

 

3. Leave the area. If your health is your top priority, you can move away if others choose to continue smoking. Find another park bench or go home.

 

4. Screen caregivers. It’s especially important to shield children from secondhand smoke because their bodies are still developing. Let childcare facilities and babysitters know about your concerns.

 

5. Talk with your landlord. If you rent your apartment or live in multi-unit housing, you may be exposed to neighbors who smoke. Check your lease and discuss the issue directly with your neighbors if possible. Keep records of any communications with landlords and property managers as you try to work out compromises, change policies, or break your lease.

 

6. Offer support. If you’re fortunate to have family and friends who are ready to give up tobacco, help them through the initial cravings. Provide plenty of encouragement along with practical assistance.

 

There’s no safe level of secondhand smoke, and living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker’s chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent, according to the National Cancer Institute. Protect you and your loved ones by cleaning up the air you breathe.

I would love to give you a free resource sheet to support your overall wellness. Click the button below to receive your gift.

 

, A Surprising Truth About Secondhand Smoke, Dr. Nicolle

 

I really wanted to talk about this topic today because your natural health and wellness is important. You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of poor health, including chronic disease, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.

 

I use functional medicine and lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, and maybe reverse some chronic diseases (if you suffer from them). In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.

 

Is Dietary Supplementation Right For You?

For some people, vitamin and mineral supplements offer important health benefits. Supplements are designed to fight deficiencies found in our diet and complement the food we eat regularly. Supplements are basically “helping hands” to our daily food.

 

If you suspect that you aren’t getting the nutrients you need, consider shifting your focus from supplements to eating better.

 

But it is very important to note that we are not eating the same foods we ate years ago because the soils have been depleted of critical nutrients through current industrial farming practices. And because the soil is not as good as it used to be, the food supply (grown from the depleted soil) is not as good as it used to be. For example, you are not getting the same levels of magnesium as you would have gotten 30 or even 50 years ago.

 

Second, much of the food has been genetically altered, which can impact the inherent and unique nutritional composition that each food possess. For example, ancient einkorn wheat has less gluten, more protein, more Vitamin A, and more beta carotene, than modern genetically modified wheat.

 

Third, the toxic load in the environment today is much higher than 100 years ago. We can see this with global warming, toxic landfills, polluted oceans and waterways, etc. Toxicity levels interfere with nutrient assimilation and absorption not just into the foods, but into our bodies as well.

 

So… if you are unable to eat better, the supplements in my MaxHealth Total Wellness Bundle may provide the extra boost you need.

MaxHealth Total Wellness Bundle

 

These are my favorite Wellness and Immune-Boosting Supplements to use! This MaxHealth Total Wellness Bundle will ensure you have the intake of the important vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to decrease inflammation and boost your innate wellness day and night. Taken together, it’s a solid plan for increasing your body’s natural resiliency.

 

For best results make sure you use the supplements with dietary changes including a whole food plant-based diet, regular exercise (at least 2-3x per week), regular sleep (8 hours per night), and intermittent fasting (at least 1-3x per week).

 

Weight Monitoring

Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).

 

Physical Activity

Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.

 

I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.

 

Yoga

Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.

 

Resistance Training

Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Check out some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.

 

Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.

 

Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

 

Stay healthy,

 

Dr. Nicolle

 

PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.

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