Approximately 50,000 Americans die each year as a result of breathing other people’s smoke. If you smoke, you can help save the health of those you love by quitting smoking. Also, the most effective way to make sure that your children never smoke is to not smoke.
The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General Report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, concluded that:
- Secondhand smoke causes early death and disease in children and adults who do not smoke.
- Non-smoking spouses of smokers are more likely to have heart disease or lung cancer than if they were not exposed to smoke in the home.
- Infants and children who are exposed to smoke are at higher risk for dangerous diseases, such as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), severe respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and asthma.
- 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.
- 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.
- Eliminating smoking in indoor areas fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.
Go to the Surgeon General's website for the full report and the Executive Summary. Also at this website are a number of very helpful materials the Department of Health and Human Services designed to educate smokers, employers, and others about the health consequences of secondhand smoke and next steps they can take.