We know that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke can cause many health problems, including sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory and ear infections, and asthma attacks in infants and children. In adult nonsmokers, secondhand smoke can cause coronary heart disease, stroke and lung cancer, among other conditions.
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report out of the CDC
details findings about secondhand smoke exposure in the US. It shows that, though secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmokers has decreased considerably since 1988, progress has stalled in recent years. As of 2014 approximately one in four nonsmokers remained exposed to this preventable health hazard.
Certain groups were more vulnerable to secondhand smoke than others. During 2013–2014, the prevalence of secondhand smoke exposure was:
- significantly higher among children aged 3–11 years (37.9%) than among adults aged 20 or older (22.0%)
- significantly higher among persons who rented (38.6%) than among those who owned their homes (19.2%)
- among adults aged 25 or older, highest for those with less than a high school education (30.7%) and lowest among those with a college degree or higher (10.8%)
Continued policy measures and educational interventions are needed in order to further reduce secondh
and smoke exposure, especially among vulnerable populations.
Tsai J, Homa DM, Gentzke AS, et al.
Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Among Nonsmokers — United States, 1988–2014
. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1342–1346.
Would you or someone you know like to make your home smoke-free?
to visit Breathe Easy Maine and take the Smoke-Free Homes Pledge, and get connected with many other smoke- and tobacco-free resources.