Effects of Secondhand Smoke

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Secondhand smoke, also called “passive” smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), is smoke that fills offices, vehicles, restaurants, homes, or other enclosed areas where people smoke cigarettes, pipes or cigars.

Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are known as “involuntary” or “passive” smokers, and take in nicotine and other chemicals, just like the smoker does. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), US National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), have all classified second-hand smoke as a “known human carcinogen”.

Millions of people, young and old, are exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes, restaurants, workplaces, and other areas, despite a great deal of progress in tobacco control. The only way to fully protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke inside is to prevent smoking altogether inside. Cleaning the air, ventilation and separating smokers from non-smokers doesn’t keep non-smokers from being exposed to secondhand smoke. Scientific evidence proves no level of exposure to secondhand smoke is safe.

Facts About Secondhand Smoke:

•    There are over 4,000 chemical compounds in secondhand smoke.
•    200 of the chemicals in secondhand smoke are poisonous, over 60 are known carcinogens.
•    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), secondhand smoke results in one in 10 tobacco-related deaths.
•    WHO also reports that secondhand smoke causes 600,000 premature deaths per year.
•    The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, estimates that between 200,000 and 1,000,000 kids with asthma have their condition worsened by secondhand smoke every year. Chronic respiratory symptoms may be attributed to secondhand smoke.
•    Exposure to secondhand smoke causes 3,400 lung cancer deaths annually.
•    Secondhand smoke causes premature death in non-smokers, according to the Surgeon General’s 2006 report.
•    The World Health Organization states that approximately 40% of children are exposed to second-hand smoke on a regular basis, at home; and a frightening 31% of the deaths caused by second-hand smoke occur in children.
•    Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home are more likely to pick up the deadly smoking habit.
•    Secondhand smoke is responsible for many breathing problems in non-smokers.
•    According to the U.S. Surgeon General, living with a smoker increases the chance of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent
•    Over 94% of people are unprotected by smoke-free laws.
•    According to the 2006 Surgeon General’s report, children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), respiratory infections, ear infections, and more severe asthma.
•    Also in the 2006 Surgeon General’s report, it states that smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
•    Secondhand smoke is responsible for 750,000 middle ear infections in children.
•    Some research suggests secondhand smoke is responsible for an increased risk in breast cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, an increased risk of leukemia and lymphoma.
•    Secondhand smoke puts pregnant women at risk of having low birth weight babies.
•    It is estimated that 46,000 deaths from heart disease annually are due to secondhand smoke exposure.
•    Over a long period of time, secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer, according to the Surgeon General.


Secondhand smoke is a concern for everyone who breathes it. Non-smokers share many of the health risks of smokers, which is the reason smoking has been banned in so many public places.  While secondhand smoke is not as responsible for as many deaths as smoking, it dangerous and toxic and should be avoided at all costs.

This is enough to make any smoker want to quit! If you need a little help kicking the habit then consider using smokeless cigarettes as an alternative, it could literally save your life!


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19 Reviews to “Effects of Secondhand Smoke”

  1. e-liquid refill electronic cigarette says:

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    Are e-cigarettes safe?

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