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World No Tobacco Day 2024: How to keep your lungs strong if you’re a passive smoker

By Vaseline May30,2024

As we celebrate World No Tobacco Day on May 31, it is crucial to recognize not only the harmful effects of active smoking, but also the dangers of passive smoking, also known as passive smoking. This happens when non-smokers inhale smoke exhaled by smokers or from the burning end of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. Although we often say that our environment shapes us, this is especially true in the case of smoking. Non-smokers who inhale this toxic mixture face the same health risks as active smokers.

Saurabh Bothra, CEO and certified yoga instructor, Habuild, emphasizes: “There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. It can lead to numerous health problems, including respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia, lung cancer, heart disease, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Studies show that long-term exposure to second-hand smoke can cause significant lung damage, leading to decreased lung function, even in children and the elderly.”

Despite these dangers, there are habits you can adopt to help restore and maintain the health of your lungs if you are a passive smoker:

  1. Avoid passive smoking
    The best way to protect your lungs is to avoid places where smoking occurs. Encourage friends, family or colleagues to smoke away from you and avoid areas where smoking is common.
  2. Spend time in nature
    If you cannot avoid exposure, spend one to two hours in nature every day. Gardens, lake shores and open areas provide fresh air to combat daily exposure to smoke.
  3. Practice deep breathing
    Practice deep breathing exercises in nature to increase lung capacity and remove toxins. Techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing, kapalbhati kriya and other pranayama methods are effective.
  4. Use air purifiers
    Use air purifiers at home to reduce secondhand smoke and other pollutants. Also encourage its use in office spaces.
  5. Maintain a healthy diet
    Eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help combat the damage caused by secondhand smoke. Foods such as berries, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds are excellent choices.
  6. Practice regularly
    Physical activity helps improve lung capacity and function. Walking, swimming and yoga are especially useful.

Dr. Kuldeep Kumar Grover, Head of Critical Care & Pulmonology Department, CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon, advises that creating a smoke-free environment is essential. Make sure your car and home are smoke-free, and if someone needs to smoke, ask them to do so outside. Regular exercise strengthens your heart and lungs. On most days it is recommended to walk, swim or cycle for at least half an hour. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and antioxidants promotes lung health and protects against damage. Maintaining a healthy weight is critical to preventing breathing problems associated with obesity and reducing the burden on your lungs.


Incorporating deep breathing exercises into your routine can improve lung function and capacity. Diaphragmatic and pursed lip breathing are particularly helpful. Avoid hazardous substances, ventilate your home and use air purifiers to keep indoor air clean. Regular health exams are essential for monitoring lung health and treating any problems quickly. Vaccinations, such as the flu shot and pneumonia vaccine, are also critical for preventing respiratory infections that can harm lung health.

Dr. Pratibha Dogra, Senior Consultant, Department of Pulmonology, Marengo Asia Hospitals, Gurugram, emphasizes that if you are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke, it is imperative to take proactive steps to maintain the health of your lungs. Limit your exposure by avoiding areas where smoking occurs. If someone smokes in your home, make sure he or she does so outside, away from other people. It is also advised to create smoke-free zones around you and avoid social situations where smoking is common.

Adopt healthy practices to maintain lung health. Regular exercise is essential; aim for 40 to 45 minutes of moderate exercise, such as cycling, swimming or walking. Your heart and lungs become stronger. Deep breathing techniques can improve lung function and capacity.

A balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats supports lung health. Foods high in antioxidants, such as nuts, spinach and berries, can protect your lungs from damage. Staying hydrated by consuming plenty of water is also crucial.

Maintaining clean air in your home can have a major impact on lung health. Use air purifiers and avoid products that emit harmful chemicals. Ventilate your living areas regularly to maintain good air quality.

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