- 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
Secondhand smoke and other effects on children
In addition to the risk of pneumonia and respiratory infections in babies exposed to secondhand smoke (see above), passive smoke is known to increase the severity of asthma in children with this condition. Middle ear infections in children are also occur as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke. Babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Secondhand smoke and the effects on pregnant women
Like women who smoke, pregnant women who are exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of having low-birthweight babies.
Secondhand smoke and the possible link to breast cancer
The question of whether or not passive smoking is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer is currently a source of both investigation and controversy. Breast cancer risk in active smokers is not known to be increased, yet some studies have found a possible link to breast cancer with exposure to passive smoke. In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General's report concluded that there is "suggestive but not sufficient" evidence of a link at this point.
Is there a safe level of secondhand smoke?
While, logically, more extensive or prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke, is associated with greatest risk of having medical problems as a result, no safe limit for exposure to secondhand smoke has been established. Even low levels of secondhand smoke can be harmful. This means that all exposure to secondhand smoke should be avoided whenever possible.