Secondhand Smoke

Serious Health Hazard

Secondhand smoke (SHS) is a serious health hazard causing more than 41,000 deaths per year in the United States (1). It can cause or make worse a wide range of damaging health effects in children and adults, including lung cancer, respiratory infections and asthma. Secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,330 deaths from lung cancer and 33,950 deaths from heart disease each year (2). Secondhand smoke is dangerous.

Take ONE Step to Protect Loved Ones from SHS Exposure

Knowing and understanding the dangers of secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure will help you create safe breathing environments as well as inform parents of the risks, myths, and preventive measures regarding SHS and aerosols (3).

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Smoke is Smoke

There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer (4).  Chemicals found in tobacco smoke include arsenic, ammonia, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and acetone (5).

Secondhand smoke exposure can lead to diseases similar to those found in cigarette smokers, including heart disease and lung cancer.  That is why is critical to keep you and your family in smokefree places, indoors and out.

Secondhand Smoke and Children

Secondhand smoke (SHS) harms infants and children.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), SHS causes numerous health problems in infants and children, including more frequent and severe asthma attacks, respiratory infections (such as bronchitis and pneumonia), ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) (4).

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Check Out More SHS Facts

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Secondhand Marijuana Smoke

Learn about the dangerous chemicals in marijuana smoke.

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E-cigarettes/"Vapes" Secondhand Aerosol

Learn about the dangerous chemicals in the aerosol (“vapor") from e-cigarettes.

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  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Fast Facts on Diseases and Death.”  Retrieved from:
  2. American Lung Association “Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke.”  Retrieved from: 
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “2006 Surgeon General’s Report Highlights – How to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones from Secondhand Smoke.” Retrieved from:
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Health Effects of Secondhand Smoke.” Retrieved from: 
  5. American Lung Association “What’s In a Cigarette?” Retrieved from: