When you find out what’s in secondhand smoke it’ll make you sick.
There’s no doubt about it. Secondhand smoke is a health hazard. It prevents you from being able to breathe clean, smoke-free air. When you’re around it, especially in an enclosed public place, it hurts you and everyone with you. That’s why the Surgeon General declared that, “there is no ‘safe’ level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
What is secondhand smoke?
According to the American Cancer Society, secondhand smoke is a mixture of two forms of smoke that come from burning tobacco: sidestream smoke (smoke that comes from the end of a lit cigarette, pipe, or cigar) and mainstream smoke (smoke that is exhaled by a smoker).
What’s an “enclosed public place”?
An enclosed public place is any building or enclosure, whether publicly or privately owned, where the public is expected to visit, gather or patronize. This includes offices, malls, schools, hospitals, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys, movie theaters, retail stores and the like.
How much secondhand smoke is safe?
According to the Surgeon General, none. Even a little causes immediate damage and can be harmful to your health. It contains 69 substances known or expected to cause cancer. It contains 7,000 toxins in all.
Are you trying to make smoking illegal?
No. Despite the health risks and impact on health care costs, the purpose of the Just Breathe initiative is to educate the public about the ill effects of secondhand smoke. Hopefully, establishments all over the county will make the choice to be smoke-free. This means people would be able to smoke, so long as they do it outside. After all, we all have a right to breathe clean, smoke-free air inside enclosed public places.
What can be done about secondhand smoke?
In many communities and states, laws prohibit smoking in enclosed public places because of the risks and health hazards both to the employees and customers. You can use the link on our site to find places that are smoke-free.
Why not just ventilate the building, use air cleaners and/or separate smokers from non-smokers?
In short, because those actions don’t work. They don’t protect non-smokers from the health risks of secondhand smoke. And they certainly don’t protect the employees who are expected to endure the health hazard just to do their jobs.
- Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are currently non-smokers.
- 820 Alabamans died last year from secondhand smoke-related illnesses.
- About 3,400 lung cancer deaths occur in the United States each year as a result of breathing secondhand smoke.
- Secondhand smoke causes other breathing problems in non-smokers, including coughing, mucus, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function.
- Secondhand smoke is to blame for 50,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually.
- Secondhand smoke increases the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma.
- Secondhand smoke has a role in more than 750,000 middle ear infections in children.
- Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are also at an increased risk of having low birth-weight babies.
- Secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and in adults who do not smoke.
- Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of SUDI/SIDS, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma.
- Secondhand smoke immediately affects the heart and blood circulation in a harmful way. Over time, secondhand smoke also causes heart disease and lung cancer.
- The evidence shows that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
- The only way to fully protect non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke indoors is to prevent all smoking in indoor places or buildings. Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot keep non-smokers from being exposed to secondhand smoke.
- At least 69 of the toxic chemicals in secondhand tobacco smoke cause cancer including: arsenic, benzene, beryllium, 1,3-Butadiene, cadmium, chromium, ethylene oxide, nickel, polonium-210 and vinyl chloride.
- Cigarette smoke contains 7,000 toxins (chemicals) many of which are poisonous.
- For a waiter or waitress who works in a smoking restaurant, one eight-hour shift is like smoking a pack and a half of cigarettes.
- Formaldehyde, Benzo(a)pyrene and toluene are just some of the toxic chemicals found in secondhand smoke suspected of causing cancer.
- Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of lung cancer by 20–30%.