Secondhand smoke (SHS) is the combination of smoke exhaled by a smoker and the smoke from a burning cigarette. This combination is dangerous for both the smoker and the non-smoker.
- SHS contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing substances.
- SHS is classified as a "Group A Carcinogen," a substance known to cause cancer in humans.
- Secondhand smoke kills approximately 62,000 nonsmokers each year in the United States.
- Smoke-filled rooms can have up to six times the air pollution of a busy highway
- SHS causes 250,000 heart attacks every year in the U.S. 35,000 die from heart attacks caused by SHS
- Just 20 minutes in a smoky room causes a non-smoker's blood platelets to become almost as "sticky" as a pack-a-day smoker's. "Sticky" platelets increase the likelihood of clotting that can cause stroke or heart attack.
SHS puts employees at higher risk for disease and disability
- Waitresses have higher rates of lung and heart disease than any other traditionally female occupational group. One shift in a smoky bar is equivalent to smoking 16 cigarettes a day. [Source: Journal of the American Medical Association]
- Two hours in a smoky bar is the same as smoking four cigarettes. [Source: UC Berkeley School of Public Health]
- Nonsmokers exposed to SHS have higher death rates from cardiovascular disease than nonsmokers who are not exposed to SHS. [Source: CDC]
- For most workers who smoke, cigarette smoking is a greater cause of death and disability than any hazard in the workplace. [Source: CDC]
- US Surgeon
General's Report on Secondhand Tobacco Smoke, June 27, 2006
“Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and adults who do not smoke.”
“The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Tobacco Information and Prevention Source (TIPS) section on Environmental Tobacco Smoke
- Chronology of Significant Developments Related to Smoking and Health
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
- Risk Assessment of Passive Smoking (1992)
- Setting the Record Straight: Secondhand Smoke is a Preventable Health Risk (1994)
- Take the EPS's Smokefree Home Pledge!
- Fact Sheet: Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking
- What You Can Do About Secondhand Smoke as Parents, Decision-Makers, and Building Occupants
- Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
Secondhand smoke page
- Third-Hand Smoke
go to New York Times article (Jan 3 09)