Second hand smoke, can it cause relapse?

Second hand smoke, can it cause relapse?

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Nov 2001, 18:46 #1

Contrary to popular opinion or misconceptions, the risks of second hand smoke exposure are nothing compared to actually smoking yourself. As far as causing a relapse to needing nicotine, it can't do that. The trace amount of nicotine that can be absorbed from second hand smoke exposure is usually under 1% of what a smoker gets from smoking. Inhaling a puff or even puffing on a lit cigarette without actually inhaling and absorbing nicotine through the oral mucosa does not deliver trace amounts though, it delivers a significantly large dose of nicotine that is fully capable of causing a full-blown relapse.

As far as second hand smoke and nicotine goes, you would have to be in a smoke filled room, non-stop for 100 hours, yes I am saying over 4 days to get the equivalent dose of nicotine delivered to a smoker from one cigarette. This is a unique property of nicotine though. Other chemicals in second hand smoke can reach some pretty toxic levels much quicker than that, in minutes not days.
The side effects felt from being exposed to second hand smoke are from Carbon Monoxide, Hydrogen Cyanide and some other noxious chemicals that can reach levels that are well above OSHA standards for safety. If a non-smoker happens to have a heart condition or an asthmatic or bronchial problem, and exposure to second hand smoke induces an incident on the spot, it would be said by all that the second hand smoke was more dangerous to that non smoker than the first hand smoke was to the smoker him or herself at the time. But rest assured, if the second hand smoke could induce the attack, if that person had smoked him or herself it would have induced a lot earlier and probably more severely. I have to say probably because the second hand smoke exposure may have fatal consequences for the predisposed non-smoker. But again, if second hand smoke did it, if that person were a smoker they would likely have experienced much sooner from their own self induced exposure.

The best way to keep your exposure to nicotine and the 4000 other chemicals and poisons to a bare minimum is to never take another puff!

Here is a string that visually explains the difference between actually smoking and second hand smoke exposure: Another slant on how to watch people�smoke


Last edited by Joel on 28 Aug 2012, 15:01, edited 10 times in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

27 Nov 2001, 09:38 #2

Last edited by Joel on 09 Nov 2013, 19:13, edited 5 times in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

27 Nov 2001, 11:08 #3

Thank You Joel. Somehow I knew you would come through. I really remember this artical but it seems to have even more impact on me now. I might have still been under the "It won't happen to me" thinking when I first read them. But I was reading them then to help me to keep my quit, to convince me that sticking with it through the tough times would be worth it in the end.And It is very worth it. I am very comfortable in my quit. Still guarding it though. I do not want to get too complacent.
I guess I am just bothered that I still feel I can smell and taste the cigaretts. Talked to hubby about it and he said it was all in my mind. Nope, I can smell them.It is not a good smell and it does reenforce my desire to keep quit.
I want these people to still be my friends but think I will have them here at our house instead of going to their house. Course then they will be in a hurry to leave to get their fix but not my problem. I do feel sorry for them.I did talk to them about my quitting and this site and how much it has helped me, educated me, put the steel in my resolve to stay quit. For this I will be forever greatful to all that have unselfishly taken their time to reply to posts.
One year, three weeks, four days, 15 hours, 28 minutes and 51 seconds. 2734 cigarettes not smoked, saving $478.54. Life saved: 1 week, 2 days, 11 hours, 50 minutes.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Feb 2002, 20:42 #4

Image For Tea4Sue and anyone else going to a smoking concert or any smokey environment and are possibly afraid of second hand smoke exposure threatening a quit. Second hand smoke can't cause a relapse--only first hand smoke has that potential. To prevent first hand smoke is a simple as knowing to never take another puff!


z greyfox (BRONZE)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:58

12 Feb 2002, 04:57 #5

WENT TO A BAR THIS AFTERNOON. TRIED A COUPLE OF ADULT BEVERAGES TO CHECK OUT THE WATERS. I think I did great in fact it was an experience that made me wonder why in the world did I smoke for so long.
My customer and I sat at the bar for lunch. A man was already sitting at the stool next to mine and i notice he had a pack of smokes. I was kind of worried about being so close. this guy smoked and smoked and smoked. I was never a chain smoker but this guy sure and the heck was.
the worst of the experience is that when we left i smelt like i was wearing nicotine. But no desire to light up NONE NOT THE LEAST...
not cured yet but hey i feel great.


OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

20 Dec 2002, 09:45 #6

Have to admit still being scared to get too near the smoke from a lit cigarette until recently. Few weeks ago, I just arrived at the pub, and a friend was outside smoking. I went to hug her, and was breathing in as I did so, and inadvertantly got a full mouthful of her second hand smoke.

I was running this thread through my mind, hoping that it was true, but was still fairly terrified. I believe the second hand inhale was also a trigger, because almost immediately afterward, I got that familiar feeling. I worried whether there had somehow been enough nicotine in that breath.

I went up and played darts by myself and worried and fretted for about 20 minutes. Next thing I knew, I'd forgotten about it until the next day. Never thought about it again the entire night. Never thought about cigarettes at all for the rest of that night.

Obviously, it IS true that second-hand smoke does not pass enough nicotine to cause a relapse... Thank God.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Feb 2003, 00:30 #7

I just saw the issue of second hand smoke raised in another post. When examining second hand smoke it is important to note that it is in no way as dangerous as first hand smoke would be to the specific individual. As far as nicotine being absorbed and a subsequent relapse because of second hand smoke, this too is pretty much a non-issue.

But other chemical exposures from second hand smoke can reach quite dangerous and even deadly levels for a person who has preexisting conditions making them vulnerable to such chemical exposures. The effects on indoor air quality from second hand smoke exposure will often far exceed levels that would ever be tolerated in outdoor air exposure.

If a manufacturer was exposing the environment to such levels of some of these chemicals produced from tobacco smoke, air pollution standards would mandate that they shut the operation down for endangering the environment. In the past you were exposing those closest to you to such irritation and danger. Your whole world became cleaner the day you put in force your plan to never take another puff!


L z l
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

16 Feb 2003, 00:46 #8

Thanks Joel. I really needed to read this. Excellent information and VERY good to know !! I was really scared there that my trip to the bar had ruined everything I'd worked so hard for.

It does make me angry though. I really think it should be federal law (just like when they made it illegal to smoke in grocery stores) that no indoor places can be smoked in. I've heard that the people of California are very happy with this. Including still-smokers. They don't seem to mind not being able to smoke in the bars at all, from what I hear. They just go outside.

Well, I guess until that day comes, I just won't be going to any more bars. LOL. I'm not putting my lungs (not to mention the rest of me!) through THAT again. no way.

~ Quit Proud For 3 Weeks 6 Days 9 Hours 29 Seconds!
821 Forlorn Gag-a-rettes
still sitting on the store shelves, unloved, unwanted & Definitely NOT smoked ! ~

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

17 May 2003, 05:58 #9

Part of the below 2010 study examined cotinine levels (primary chemical nicotine breaks down into) in both smokers and those breathing passive or second hand smoke.  If I'm reading this correctly the cotinine level in the urine of smokers was 634 times greater than in passive smokers.  If worried about passive smoking causing relapse, cotinine levels are a marker of where nicotine has been.  Hopefully this finding helps give you peace of mind, at least in regard to relapse.  John (Gold x11) 

Urine cotinine underestimates exposure to tobacco-derived
lung carcinogen 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone
(NNK) in passive compared to active smokers

Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention
Published OnlineFirst August 30, 2010.

Neal L. Benowitz, Maciej Goniewicz, Mark Eisner, Eduardo Lazcano-Ponce, Wioleta Zielinska-Danch, Bartosz Koszowski, Andrzej Sobczak, Chis Havel and Peyton Jacob III


Objectives: Cotinine and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL) are widely used biomarkers for tobacco-derived nicotine and the lung carcinogen 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK), respectively. The discrepancy between cotinine levels in relation to disease risk comparing active vs. passive smoking suggests a non-linear tobacco smoke dose-response and/or that cotinine is not providing an accurate measure of exposure to tobacco smoke toxic constituents from secondhand smoke.

Methods: Cotinine and NNAL were measured in urine of 373 active smokers and 228 passive smokers.

Results: Average cotinine levels were 1,155 (IQR 703-2,715) for active smokers and 1.82 (0.45-7.33) ng/mg creatinine for passive smokers. Average NNAL levels were 183 (103-393) and 5.19 (2.04-11.6) pg/mg creatinine, respectively. NNAL/cotinine ratio in urine was significantly higher for passive smokers when compared to active smokers (2.85×103 vs. 0.16×103, p<0.0001).

Conclusions: Cotinine measurement leads to an underestimation of exposure to the carcinogen NNK from second-hand smoke when compared with active smoking.


Last edited by John (Gold) on 01 Sep 2010, 12:15, edited 3 times in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Nov 2003, 04:24 #10

This article discusses the issue of trace amounts of nicotine. The only souces capable of delivering nicotine in levels high enough to cause a relapse are first hand use of the various forms of tobacco and nicotine replacement products.