- How Smoking Affects Your Looks & Life Slideshow
- Tips to Quit Smoking Slideshow
- Take the Quiz on Smoking
- Patient Comments: Secondhand Smoke - Experience
- Find a local Family Physician in your town
- Secondhand smoke facts
- What is secondhand smoke?
- What causes secondhand smoke?
- What are the health risks of secondhand smoke?
- Lung cancer and secondhand smoke
- Cardiovascular disease and secondhand smoke
- Other lung diseases and secondhand smoke
- Secondhand smoke and other effects on children
- Secondhand smoke and the effects on pregnant women
- Secondhand smoke and the possible link to breast cancer
- Is there a safe level of secondhand smoke?
- What can be done about secondhand smoke exposure?
- What is thirdhand smoke?
Quick GuideEffects of Secondhand Smoke: Facts
What causes secondhand smoke?
Cigarettes are the most common sources of secondhand smoke, followed by cigars and pipe smoke. People can be exposed to environmental tobacco smoke anywhere - in their homes, in the workplace, and in recreational settings.
What are the health risks of secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoke carries many health risks. At least 250 harmful chemicals have been identified in secondhand smoke, including at least 50 carcinogens (chemicals that are known to cause cancer). Just some of the dangerous chemicals present in secondhand smoke include vinyl chloride, cadmium, benzene, arsenic, and ethylene oxide.
Secondhand smoke is known to cause cancer. It has been classified as a "known human carcinogen" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is also associated with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well as other serious health conditions; several are listed below.
Lung cancer and secondhand smoke
Passive smoking is an established risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Research has shown that nonsmokers who reside with a smoker have an increased risk for developing lung cancer when compared with nonsmokers who do not reside with a smoker.
Cardiovascular disease and secondhand smoke
Other lung diseases and secondhand smoke
Coughing, chest congestion, and decreased lung function can also occur in those exposed to passive smoke. Babies exposed to secondhand smoke can also develop serious respiratory infections. Passive smoking is believed to cause lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age each year.