You may think of secondhand smoke as something that makes your clothes and hair stink or bothers your eyes and sinuses. There is now proof that secondhand smoke is more than just annoying — it’s downright deadly.
Every year, secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 deaths from lung cancer and 22,700 to 69,600 deaths from heart disease.
|Secondhand Smoke is Classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as a "Class A" Carcinogen; Known to Cause Cancer in Humans.|
Secondhand smoke is a mix of the smoke given off by the burning ends of cigarettes, cigars and pipes and the smoke exhaled by someone who is smoking. If you’re around someone who is smoking, you are at risk. Exposure greatly increases your chance of developing lung cancer and heart disease.
|Children who are Exposed to Secondhand Smoke are Inhaling Many of the Same Cancer-Causing Substances and Poisons as Smokers.|
Because their bodies are still growing, infants and young children are especially susceptible to secondhand smoke. Children are also at an increased risk of developing bronchitis and pneumonia when exposed to secondhand smoke.
- Causes 150,000 to 300,000 lower respiratory infections in infants and children under 18 months of age annually.
- Is responsible for 430 sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths in the U.S. annually.
- Exposure can cause buildup of fluid in the middle ear, resulting in 790,000 doctor office visits per year.
- Can aggravate symptoms in 400,000 to 1 million children with asthma.
|Secondhand Smoke is Strongly Linked to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).|
Both babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant and babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth, are more likely to die from SIDS than babies who are not exposed at all.
Make Your Home Smoke-Free
If you are a smoker, you can make your home smoke-free by smoking outside. Blowing smoke away from children, going into another room to smoke, turning on a fan, or opening a window will not protect your family from the dangers of secondhand smoke.
The greatest benefit of a smoke-free home is that you will remove all of the health risks caused by secondhand smoke. Plus, when your home is smoke-free it will smell much better. And your food will taste better, too.
You’ll spend less time, energy and money cleaning your curtains, walls, windows and mirrors. Even your pets will be happier. (Secondhand smoke is harmful to pets as well.)
It may feel awkward to ask people not to smoke in your home. No one wants to make his or her guests uncomfortable. Tell them that for the sake of your family’s health, you simply don’t allow smoking in your home. Make sure your child’s school and day care programs are smoke-free. And insist that babysitters do not smoke around your children.
Sources: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Surgeon General’s Reports, and American Lung Association.
|For more information, contact:|
Tobacco Free Nebraska
P.O. Box 95026
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-5026
Phone: (402) 471-2101
E-mail: TFN Info