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Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar, or pipe, and the smoke breathed out by the smoker. It contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds of those chemicals are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer.
Health effects of secondhand smoke include:
- Ear infections in children
- More frequent and severe asthma attacks in children
- Heart disease and lung cancer in adults who have never smoked
There is no safe amount of secondhand smoke. Even low levels of it can be harmful. The only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke is not to allow smoking indoors.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Health Risks of Secondhand Smoke (American Cancer Society) Also in Spanish
- Let's Make the Next Generation Tobacco-Free: Your Guide to the 50th Anniversary Surgeon General's Report on Smoking and Health (Department of Health and Human Services) - PDF
- Secondhand Smoke (National Cancer Institute, Tobacco Control Research Branch)
- Secondhand Smoke (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Secondhand Smoke and Cancer (National Cancer Institute) Also in Spanish
- Secondhand Smoke and Electronic-Cigarette Aerosols (Environmental Protection Agency)
- Secondhand Smoke: What It Means to You (Surgeon General) - PDF
Prevention and Risk Factors
- BeTobaccoFree.gov (Department of Health and Human Services)
- Cancer and Tobacco Use (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Health Harms from Secondhand Smoke (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids) - PDF
- Health Problems Caused by Secondhand Smoke (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Thirdhand Smoke: What Are the Dangers to Nonsmokers? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
Statistics and Research
- General Information about Secondhand Smoke (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Tobacco Smoke Pollution (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Impact of a Multidisciplinary Curriculum Training Students and Residents in Tobacco...
- Article: Impact of different ventilation conditions on tobacco smoke-associated particulate matter emissions...
- Article: Maternal, obstetric and gynecological factors associated with preterm birth in Rwanda:...
- Secondhand Smoke -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Secondhand Smoke (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- How Smoking Harms Your Child (National Cancer Institute, Tobacco Control Research Branch)
- Smoking and asthma (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish