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Secondhand Smoke Facts

Secondhand smoke (SHS) is the mixture of sidestream smoke given off by a smoldering cigarette and mainstream smoke exhaled by a smoker (also called environmental tobacco smoke - ETS) 


Causes Cancer

  • Secondhand smoke is a Group A carcinogen - a substance known to cause cancer in humans for which there is no safe level of exposure.
  • Secondhand has more than 50 carcinogens; it causes lung cancer in non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke. About 3,400 deaths occur in the U.S. annually caused by lung cancer resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.


Causes Death

  • Secondhand smoke causes premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. More than 67,000 deaths annually in the U.S. and 1,700 deaths annually in Michigan result from secondhand smoke exposure. 


Causes Ear Infections

  • Exposure of children to secondhand smoke can cause middle ear disease, including acute and recurrent ottitis media, and chronic middle ear effusion.


Causes Asthma

  • Exposure of school-age children to SHS can cause asthma, cough, phlegm, wheezing and shortness of breath. It can also cause wheezing illnesses in early childhood


Causes SIDS

  • Exposure of infants to SHS can cause sudden unexplained infant death. There are 430 deaths annually in the U.S. from SUIDS because of exposure of the infant to secondhand smoke. The evidence indicates that these exposures are one of the major preventable risk factor for SUIDS and all measures should be taken to protect infants from secondhand smoke exposure.