Public Service Announcement
Secondhand smoke is a mixture of gases and fine particles that includes:
• Smoke from a burning tobacco product such as a cigarette, cigar, or pipe
• Smoke that has been exhaled or breathed out by the person or people smoking
• More than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer
Most exposure to secondhand smoke occurs in homes and workplaces. Secondhand smoke exposure also continues to occur in public places such as restaurants, bars, and casinos, as well as multiunit housing and vehicles.
Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure.
Separating smokers from nonsmokers within the same air space, cleaning the air, opening windows, and ventilating buildings does not eliminate secondhand smoke exposure.
Since 1964, 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from exposure to secondhand smoke.
Health Effects: Children
In children, secondhand smoke causes the following:
• Ear infections
• More frequent and severe asthma attacks
• Respiratory symptoms (e.g., coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath)
• Respiratory infections (i.e., bronchitis, pneumonia)
• A greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
In U.S. children aged 18 months or younger, secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for:3
• An estimated 150,000–300,000 new cases of bronchitis and pneumonia annually
• Approximately 7,500–15,000 hospitalizations annually
Health Effects: Adults
In adults who have never smoked, secondhand smoke can cause cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.
• For nonsmokers, breathing secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the cardiovascular system that can increase the risk for heart attack. People who already have heart disease are at especially high risk.1,3
• Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke increase their heart disease risk by 25–30%.
• It is estimated that secondhand smoke exposure caused nearly 34,000 heart disease deaths annually (during 2005–2009) among adult nonsmokers in the United States.
• Stroke is caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.