What Is Secondhand Smoke?
Secondhand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, is a combination of the smoke entering the air from the end of a buring tobacco product and the smoke exhaled by those who are smoking.
Clearing the Air: Secondhand Smoke Kills
The science and research surrounding secondhand smoke has become increasingly clear. In 2006, the Surgeon General of the United States of America released a report titled The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. The findings of the report concluded:
- Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces despite substantial progress in tobacco control.
- Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.
- Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
- Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
- The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.
It’s Proven…Policies Protect
Smokefree policies are a matter of public health, not personal or private property rights. Smokefree policies create healthy places for workers and patrons alike.
There is no constitutional right to smoke, however, EVERYONE deserves the right to breathe clean air.
In order for policies to fully protect the public from secondhand smoke, they must be COMPREHENSIVE. Meaning that they cover ALL workplaces to protect ALL workers, include all enclosed public places and include few to no exemptions.
The conclusion of a report recently released by the Institue of Medicine (IOM) concluded that studies are consistently producing data that demonstrates that secondhand smoke exposure causes heart disease and heart attacks and that COMPREHENSIVE SMOKEFREE POLICIES SAVE LIVES. Communities that adopt comprehensive smokefree policies can see a reduction of heart attack admissions to the emergency room by up to 47%. The public health impact of smokefree policies can no longer be denied.
To view the IOM Report In Brief, click HERE.
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