Second-Hand Drinking

smoking-cigarette-and-beer-in-pint-glass-ajhd1This is a very interesting way to look at alcohol harms and is following in the footsteps of tobacco awareness raising and policy development. Alcohol is not inhaled, nor is it consumed by those surrounded by the product. Cigarette smoke, on the other hand, is. Alcohol is a mood altering substance and produces intoxicating effects, where tobacco does not. Both have negative impacts on the wellbeing of others.

Most of the research on alcohol-related harms has focused on harms to the drinker. To fully understand the impact of alcohol, it is also necessary to examine the harms to others including the obvious ones (such as people affected by drunk drivers and women consuming alcohol while pregnant) and the not so obvious ones (such as children living with an alcohol dependent parent and caregivers of individuals with alcohol related illness or injury).

With tobacco smoke it is clear that any second-hand smoke is detrimental; it isn’t so cut and dry with second hand alcohol exposure.

Author: Sarah R.N.

Registered Nurse working as a Public Health Nurse in the Injury and Substance Misuse Prevention Program at the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit

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