There is no way around it--smoking and secondhand smoke are dangerous to your health and the health of those around you. Secondhand smoke is the smoke that comes from a lighted tobacco product and evidence has been building since the 1970s about its deleterious effects. People of all ages and backgrounds can be affected by secondhand smoke, but vulnerable populations, such as senior citizens and children, are at increased risk from health problems such as heart attack in seniors and slow lung growth in children.
It is also known that secondhand smoke travels between units. It travels between cracks, under doors, through electrical outlets, chases, pipes, shared walls and anywhere else that air can be exchanged. Unfortunately, no ventilation system is effective in the removal of toxins in secondhand smoke.
TEN FACTS ABOUT SECONDHAND SMOKE
1. Secondhand smoke is a Class A carcinogen, a known cause of cancer in humans and animals. It is the third leading cause
of preventable death in the United States.
2.According to the U.S. Surgeon General, “there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.”
There are over 4,000 chemicals in secondhand smoke, 50 of which are known to cause cancer in humans.
4. Secondhand smoke causes or worsens respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis, especially in infants, children and older adults.
5. Secondhand smoke is more deadly than asbestos, lead, arsenic, vehicle exhaust and a whole host of other toxins that are strictly regulated in the U.S.
6. Secondhand smoke is a known cause of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) as well as asthma and middle ear infections.
7. Secondhand smoke causes 30 times as many lung cancer deaths as all regulated air pollutants combined.
8. Many people suffer chronic and debilitating conditions caused by secondhand smoke-related diseases. These include emphysema,
cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic bronchitis and asthma.
9. As little as just a few minutes, exposure to secondhand smoke can trigger a heart attack in people with pre-existing conditions.
10. According to the Asthma Regional Council of New England, children exposed to secondhand smoke in the home are 44% more likely to suffer from asthma.
For more information about Vermont-specific laws, or secondhand smoke in general, please see one of the links below:
• Vermont Tobacco Control Program Key Facts
• Vermont’s “Smoking in Public Places” Law
• U.S. Surgeon General’s Report
• Secondhand Smoke: What it Means to You — U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guide to preventing secondhand smoke exposure