Letter: Secondhand smoke adds more risk during COVID-19 crisis

Dear Editor,

Secondhand smoke exposure from cigarettes and vapes places everyone’s health at risk. Now more than ever, our lungs need to be strong and healthy during these unprecedented times.

Secondhand smoke is smoke from the burning end of a tobacco product and smoke exhaled by the user. Breathing in secondhand smoke contains harmful chemicals that harm adults and children. It can lead to heart disease, stroke and lung cancer in adults who have never smoked. In children, secondhand smoke causes respiratory infections, triggers asthma attacks and increases the risk of ear infections.

In my experience, secondhand smoke greatly affects me as the complex where I live is surrounded by the smell of cigarettes. It affects me to the extent where I am not able to sleep from smelling smoke of smokers near my unit. During the day, cigarette smoke can be smelled at the children’s playground. This worries mothers, because they know smoke can harm their children’s health. Currently, we are living in an era where we are advised to stay home to protect our health, but for me, at home my health is also at risk. It is important for everyone to be educated about the dangers of secondhand smoke, and for others to be responsible and not smoke near our homes. In this way, we will keep our air and environment smoke-free.

Hopefully an action can be taken soon to improve the situation of secondhand smoke exposure with a policy that prohibits smoking inside apartment complexes. As I explain this, I want to ask for support for a better quality of life for all tenants and residents of Woodlake.

Ana Oros
Promotora de Salud
California Health Collaborative Woodlake

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