The Dangers of Secondhand Smoke
Think secondhand smoke is harmless? Think again.
According to the American Cancer Society, the smoke from a lit cigarette is actually more toxic than the smoke inhaled by a smoker. When you breathe the smoke from another person’s cigarette, you’re inhaling nicotine. You’re also breathing in 250 other chemicals known to be harmful, including more than 60 chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer. No wonder secondhand smoke is classified as a cancer-causing agent by the U.S. government.
Each year, secondhand smoke causes an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are non-smokers. It also causes thousands of cases of lung cancer in non-smokers.
Kids are especially vulnerable. Secondhand smoke causes more than 750,000 middle ear infections in children. It increases the number and severity of asthma attacks in kids and causes up to 300,000 lung infections in children 18 months of age and younger.
Fortunately, many laws that restrict or prohibit smoking in public places have been passed. But despite these recent efforts, millions of Americans are still exposed to secondhand smoke. Because there is no safe level of secondhand smoke, it’s important that you and your family avoid any situation where cigarette smoke is present, whether it’s at work, at home, or in the car. It’s just the healthy thing to do.