Second-hand smoke (SHS) is the combination of the smoke from burning tobacco and the smoke exhaled by a smoker.
The environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified SHS as a Group A Carcinogen – the most toxic substances known to cause cancer in humans, others include benzene, radon and asbestos.
SHS is by far the most dangerous air pollutant most Americans will ever encounter.
The scientific evidence in the Surgeon General’s report indicates that:
- There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects non-smokers from exposure to secondhand smoke separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures to secondhand smoke exposure.
- Even 30 minutes of secondhand smoke exposure daily can cause heart damage similar to that of a habitual smoker.
- People who are exposed to daily secondhand smoke have a 30% higher death and disease rate than that of nonsmokers.
The invisible yet toxic brew of gases and particles clinging to smokers’ hair and clothing, cushions, curtains, carpeting and pets, it lingers long after secondhand smoke has cleared from a room.
- More than 53,000 non-smokers die each year from heart disease, lung diseases, or cancer caused by secondhand smoke.
- For every person who dies from a smoking-related disease, 20 more people suffer with at least one serious illness from smoking.