Know the dangers of Secondhand Smoke
SECONDHAND SMOKE CAN BE JUST AS DANGEROUS TO NON-SMOKERS AS CIGARETTES ARE TO SMOKERS
Secondhand smoke is smoke from the burning end of a tobacco product and the smoke exhaled by a smoker. It contains more than 4,000 chemicals, and at least 60 that cause cancer.
The Environmental Protection Agency classifies secondhand smoke in the category for the most dangerous cancer-causing agents. In addition to cancer, the long-term effects of secondhand smoke on non-smokers include lung disease, heart disease, upper respiratory disorders and death.
KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT SECONDHAND SMOKE
- 41,000 deaths each year among adults in the United States due to secondhand smoke exposure.1
- 30 minutes of secondhand smoke has the same effect as smoking a cigarette.2
- 30% non-smoking spouses are almost half as likely to develop lung cancer and heart disease.3
- 300,000 children get bronchitis and pneumonia every year because of secondhand smoke.4
- 7,333 non-smokers die of lung cancer every year.4
- 33,951 non-smokers die from heart disease every year.4
EFFECTS ON BABIES AND CHILDREN
Secondhand smoke also effects the health of babies and children. If you are regularly around secondhand smoke while pregnant, you will have an increased chance of having a low birth weight baby, a baby with birth defects, and other complications of pregnancy.5 Babies and children exposed to secondhand smoke may also develop asthma or breathing problems, allergies, more often lung and ear infections, and are at higher risk for SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).5
SECONDHAND “VAPOR” IS NOT HARMLESS
You may think that vape clouds—the aerosol breathed out by vape and e-cigarette users—are harmless, but you are wrong. Vape clouds from e-cigarettes and other vaping products expose people to secondhand aerosol or “vapor” that may contain harmful substances such as nicotine, heavy metals and ultrafine particles. Scientists are continuing to learn about the health effects, and the US Surgeon General concluded that e-cigarette aerosol is not harmless.6
HAVE YOU HEARD OF THIRDHAND SMOKE?
Thirdhand smoke is what’s left behind on surfaces when someone smokes and contains more than 250 chemicals.5 It’s what you smell on things like clothes, furniture, carpet, walls, skin and hair that’s been in or around smoke. Thirdhand smoke sticks to these things, builds up over time and is hard to remove.
Thirdhand smoke is harmful to pregnant women, babies and children.5 Babies and children can be exposed to these chemicals when they breathe in thirdhand smoke or when they touch or put things in their mouth that have been around thirdhand smoke.5
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2014. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK179276/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK179276.pdf
2. Otsuka R, Watanabe H, Hirata K, et al. 2001. Acute Effects of Passive Smoking on the Coronary Circulation in Healthy Young Adults. JAMA. Retrieved from doi:10.1001/jama.286.4.436
3. Office on Smoking and Health (US). 2006. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK44324/
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2014. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Dept of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK179276/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK179276.pdf
5. Smoking during pregnancy. (2020). Retrieved 31 July 2020, from https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/smoking-during-pregnancy.aspx.
6. Gentzke AS, Wang TW, Marynak KL, Trivers KF, King BA. Exposure to Secondhand Smoke and Secondhand E-Cigarette Aerosol Among Middle and High School Students. Prev Chronic Dis 2019;16:180531. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd16.180531external icon.