Secondhand Smoke (cont.)

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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.

What can be done about secondhand smoke exposure?

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Local, state, and national governments have enacted a variety of laws designed to protect people from health dangers associated with secondhand smoke. These laws vary according to location. The American Lung Association has a listing of these regulations grouped by U.S. state (see References below). Legislation to prevent smoking in workplaces and public buildings is on the rise as the public becomes more informed about the risks of secondhand smoke.

Obviously, quitting smoking if you are a smoker is the best way to protect your family and friends from secondhand smoke. A number of support systems, programs, and even prescription medications are available to help smokers break the habit.

If you are a non-smoker, the safest way to avoid passive smoke is not to allow others to smoke in your home. This is particularly important if there are children in your home. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, smoke-free workplaces are the only way to protect people from exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace, since separate smoking areas, cleaning the air, and ventilating the building are not sufficient to prevent exposure if people still are permitted to smoke inside the building.

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Secondhand Smoke - Experience Question: Please share your experience with secondhand smoke.
Secondhand Smoke - Lung Diseases Question: Do you have a lung disease related to secondhand smoke? Please discuss your symptoms and experience.
Secondhand Smoke - What to do Question: If you are a non-smoker, in what ways have you limited exposure to secondhand smoke?
Secondhand Smoke - Thirdhand Smoke Question: If you understand the concept of thirdhand smoke, describe how you've dealt with the accumulation.


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