Secondhand smoke is a:
- Group A carcinogen — a substance known to cause cancer in humans for which there is no safe level of exposure.
- Toxic Air Contaminant, putting secondhand smoke in the same category as the most toxic automotive and industrial air pollutants.
- Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds — more than 40 of which are Group A carcinogens, which cause cancer in humans or animals.
Secondhand smoke causes:
- Burning of the eyes, nose, and throat; headaches; increases in the heart rate and blood pressure and upsets the stomach.
- 30 times as many lung cancer deaths as all regulated air pollutants combined.
- Nonsmokers who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work have almost double the risks of heart disease.
There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Breathing even a little secondhand smoke can be harmful. New studies showing the level of nicotine in house dust, the effects of secondhand smoke exposure on children, and on pet cats and dogs, provide further evidence of the health risks of secondhand smoke in the home.
- For more information, see the Surgeon General’s Report on Secondhand Smoke, issued June 27, 2006.
Indoor tobacco smoke leaves behind a residue called “third hand smoke,” which is particularly dangerous to young children. The residue clings to carpets, upholstery, and smokers themselves, and can contain heavy metals, carcinogens, radioactive materials, and other toxins. Children are especially susceptible to third hand smoke because they absorb or ingest this residue when playing on the floor or upholstery. Please see this New York Times article about Third Hand Smoke.