When tobacco is burning, thousands of compounds are released into the air and are inhaled by all people in the surrounding area, including those who do not smoke. This causes involuntary smoking for non-smokers in the same environment. The toxic and carcinogenic effects are qualitatively similar for both mainstream smokers and environmental tobacco smokers.
A report by the Surgeon General (PHS, 1986) made the following conclusions:
(1) Involuntary smoking is a cause of disease, including lung cancer, in healthy nonsmokers.
(2) The children of parents who smoke, compared with the children of non-smoking parents, have an increased frequency of respiratory infections, increased respiratory symptoms, and slightly smaller rates of increase in lung function as the lung matures.
(3) Simple separation of smokers and nonsmokers within the same air space may reduce, but does not eliminate, the exposure of nonsmokers to environmental tobacco smoke.
One of the important foundations for developing an effective anti-smoking program is knowledge of other variables that are correlated to the initiation of smoking among young people.
These variables can be classified into five categories, which are: social factors; sociodemographic factors; psychosocial factors; personality factors; and biological factors, and these variables interact with each other. Furthermore, different factors are involved at the different stages of a smoker’s career. These dynamic relationships complicate the task of smoking prevention. Social factors include influences from parents, peers, and siblings, and the mass media. These variables are among the prime contributing variables to the initiation of cigarette smoking.