Secondhand smoke is a combination of the smoke emitted from the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. This mixture contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including many that are toxic and about 70 that are known to cause cancer.
There is no safe-level of exposure to secondhand smoke; even small exposures can trigger a heart attack, an asthma attack, or a stroke.
Secondhand smoke has been classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known cause of lung cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen). It is estimated that over 7,000 lung cancer deaths occur in U.S. adult nonsmokers as a result of secondhand smoke exposure.
Secondhand smoke is a serious health risk to children. Health effects seen in children exposed to secondhand smoke include increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, and ear infections; build-up of fluid in the middle ear; increased severity and frequency of asthma episodes; decreased lung function; and an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- CDC Facts About Secondhand Smoke
- Tobacco Free Colorado
- Early Childhood Educator Guide to Creating Smoke-Free Environments