We’re all aware of the serious health risks associated with smoking. However, second hand or passive smoking can lead to many of the same risks. Non-smokers must also avoid spending time in a smoky atmosphere to avoid developing health problems. However, people whose jobs require them to work around smokers may find it difficult or impossible to avoid cigarette smoke completely. If those people go on to develop any of the illnesses, diseases or complaints associated with tobacco smoke, they may be able to claim compensation from their employers.
“Passive” or “second hand” smoking is when you inhale the smoke from someone else’s cigarette, cigar or pipe. In the past, it was difficult to avoid second hand smoke completely as smoking was allowed in almost all public spaces including hospitals. Smoking would be present in pubs, restaurants, cafes, clubs and many other places of work. Inhaling second hand smoke carries all the same risks as smoking itself. Although you may breathe in less smoke through passive smoking than those who smoke cigarettes themselves, you still take those toxins into your lungs. In July 2007, the British government banned smoking in all public places which means that non-smokers’ exposure to second hand smoke has been greatly reduced.
Prior to 2007 there were many instances where people might be exposed to second hand smoke at their place of work. Serving staff and bartenders are typical examples. Although the incidence of exposure to second hand smoke in the workplace is much lower since the implementation of the smoking ban, some people may still be experiencing health problems as a result of previous exposure. There are still a number of workplaces where smoking is allowed, such as residential homes, care homes and prisons. Staff working at these places may still be exposed to second hand smoke and may suffer ill health as a consequence.
The list of health problems associated with smoking is long. Lung cancer is the most well-known but smoking and passive smoking can cause or worsen many conditions.
As well as a compromised immune system leaving you vulnerable to colds, flu and infections, inhaling tobacco smoke is also linked to impotence, infertility, heart disease, stroke, stomach ulcers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
If you have been exposed to second-hand smoke at work, you may be entitled to claim compensation. As there are time limits restricting how long after exposure you can make a claim, it’s important to seek legal advice straight away. For more information on how Cute Injury can help, get in touch.