I am afraid of getting lung cancer. Seriously, I am.

I don’t smoke and my parents stopped smoking years ago. Neither do my best friends in the U.S. or Hong Kong smoke. However, I’m surrounded by smokers on a daily basis, unless I don’t leave my apartment. The moment I step out of the apartment building to the time I arrive at the office, I will run into 20 smokers on the street if I’m lucky. On a bad day, I will walk past 30 of them. If I have to work at an event or entertain customers, literally I will be stuck in the middle of 10 smokers with cigarettes, pipes or cigars. What the heck is going on in Hong Kong? It looks like it’s going backward rather than moving into a new era.

Smoking chokes the earth

Exposure to secondhand smoke is also known as involuntary or passive smoking. American Cancer Society stated that secondhand smoke is classified as a “known human carcinogen” (cancer-causing agent) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) , the US National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organization. I wonder if people know that tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemical compounds, including more than 250 of them that are known to be harmful and more than 60 are known to cause cancer.

EPA estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in nonsmokers in the United States. There is also some evidence suggesting it may be linked with cancers of the larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), brain, bladder, rectum, stomach and breast. Not only would it cause cancer, secondhand smoke can also increase the risk of heart diseases. It is particularly harmful to children. They are at increased risks for asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, pneumonia, bronchitis and middle ear infections.

I don’t care if people want to kill themselves, but don’t murder me with secondhand smoke. I don’t want cancer. Do I really have to wear a mask everywhere I go?

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