By Diana Garrido
If you live alone, you know that there's nothing quite like the freedom that comes along with it: you can basically do anything at any time, right? You can walk around in your underwear, dance while you cook, lie on your couch with your dog to watch TV as late as you please, and, if you're a smoker, get to smoke in any room of the house. After all, your pet gets you, and there's no one else to judge you.
But perhaps you're not getting your pet. When you (or someone in your house) smoke, there are some inevitable consequences you have to deal with that might negatively affect the space you so treasure, and your dog as well.
Fortunately, there are several alternatives to tobacco which can give you all its benefits without most of its vices. From exercising to eating healthy, it's important to keep in mind that there are better ways to take the edge off—making the world better for your pet and your furniture in the process. If you don't think it's that bad, though, keep reading: here are 8 dreadful things that happen when you smoke inside your home.
Your curtains might rot
That's not an idiom of any kind. If you have curtains, they could literally fall apart if you smoke a lot around them. They will continuously absorb the smoke, which will accumulate, causing them to inevitably decay faster than in a healthy environment.
Your furniture can lose structural integrity
Regardless of whether they're made of wood or metal, the combustion-generated smoke can slowly damage your furniture beyond repair.
Your pillows and blankets become a breeding ground for bacteria
Already your pillows are susceptible to mites and bed bugs, but smoke really puts that final nail on the coffin. Any microbes already living among your blankets can multiply with the smoke and cause acne or premature wrinkles on your skin. Smoke can also lead to the perfect atmosphere for fleas to move into your dog's fur.
Your walls get stained
It's common for stains to suddenly appear on your walls under most circumstances, we all know that, but this issue gets far worse and more pronounced when tobacco smoke is involved. Tobacco stains are much more difficult to get rid of than regular wear and tear, since they adhere to walls much more deeply. So, you'd probably need more than washing or repainting your walls should such stains appear.
When you regularly smoke at home, you and those you love are always exposed to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Even at the times when you're not actually smoking. ETS is composed by tobacco particles that stay around in the air you breathe. They directly affect human beings and non-human animals—which is obviously bad. There's no way to avoid this on the street, but at least there tobacco pollution spreads more thinly. In a house, however, the reduced space causes this toxic air to build up, even if you keep the windows open.
Speaking of pollution
In addition to ETS, which is a public problem inside and outside your house, there are many other environmental issues with smoking cigarettes in the first place. In most cases, cigarette butts end up making their way to areas that become highly contaminated because of them, causing serious damage to the environment. Not least of all the oceans (as if they didn't have enough to deal with because of our carelessness).
According to a 2011 study, there's a high presence of heavy metals in cigarette butt leachates (the toxic soup produced when butts are soaked in water), and it only takes one cigarette butt to kill half the fish exposed to leachates in a controlled laboratory setting. This is a terrifying mortality rate, so any cigarette that's improperly disposed of is effectively a potential killer beyond the walls of our houses. Though it's not always up to you how your trash is handled after you throw it away, it's still on your hands to consume as few cigarettes as possible—which in turn reduces the risk that they'll harm you and the environment we rely on. After all, we don't want to add to the current climate crisis caused by climate change, right?
Your pet becomes a second-hand smoker
You probably are already vaguely aware that breathing your second-hand smoke harms your pet, but it gets worse. Your dog, for example, also licks furniture, climbs on to your bed, and plays all over the floor. These are all places where smoke residue settles and mixes with ashes and cigarette butts. Your poor pet moves around your place unaware it's exposed to these toxic substances.
Your cookware becomes contaminated
Even after thoroughly washing them, there's just no way to completely remove all contaminants from them—at least not with regular cleaning soaps. This means your cookware is probably full of combustion particles, which in turn get carried over to your food and mouth. These toxic particles can also settle on your pet's eating bowls, which adds yet another point where it comes into direct contact with them.
Translated by Oliver G. Alvar
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