The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke (2006)

The Office of Women’s Health of the Department of Health and Human Services outlines key messages from the Surgeon General’s Report about exposure to second hand smoke. Health managers may use this information to educate parents and staff of the dangers of exposure to second hand smoke.

 


This Surgeon General's Report finds there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. This means that being around any amount of secondhand is harmful. Major findings include:

  • In nonsmoking adults, secondhand smoke exposure increases the risk of getting heart disease by 25 to 30 percent and lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.
  • In infants and children, secondhand smoke exposure can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), breathing problems, ear infections, and asthma attacks.
  • Nearly half of all nonsmoking Americans are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke.
  • Even brief secondhand smoke exposure can cause immediate harm.
  • Even the best ventilation systems cannot completely eliminate secondhand smoke exposure. The only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke is to eliminate smoking indoors.

The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke (2006). DHHS/OWH. 2006. English.

Last Reviewed: April 2009

Last Updated: August 27, 2014