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Secondhand smoke may compromise mental health

Passive smoking(News Locale) – While it is a common knowledge that second hand smoking from cigarettes is harmful for your lungs and heart, a new study reveals that it has a negative effect on your mental balance too.
Researchers from the University College London studied more than 2,500 active smokers and 5,000 non-smokers over a period of five years between 1998 and 2003 and found that nearly 15 percent of the volunteers developed mental problems by the end of the study.

The researchers added that non-smokers who were exposed to second hand smoke were 62 percent more likely to suffer from mental stress compared to those who were not exposed while the risk doubled among active smokers.

“Our data are preliminary, but there is a strong possibility that the observed association reflects a causal link. Taken together, therefore, our data are consistent with other emerging evidence to suggest a causal role of nicotine exposure in mental health”, lead researcher Dr Mark Hamer said.

Inhaling the smoke of other people is called passive, involuntary or secondhand smoking. The non-smoker breathes the so-called “sidestream” smoke, which is leftover after the smoker has inhaled from the burnt tobacco.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified environmental tobacco smoke as a known human cancer-causing agent. Passive smoking causes some immediate effects like eye irritation, headache, cough, sore throat, dizziness and nausea. Non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke have a 30 percent increased risk of heart disease and a 20 percent to 30 percent increased risk for lung cancer.
Many countries have taken steps to ban smoking in public places. The above study is one more reason to eradicate smoking from places where it can harm other people who do not smoke.

From, Written by News Writer, June 10th, 2010

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