Secondhand Smoke
Effects of Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand Smoke
Each year, 53,000 Americans who never smoked a cigarette, die from secondhand smoke. For every eight smokers tobacco kills, one nonsmoker dies with them.1

Inhaling secondhand smoke puts 7,000 chemicals into a person’s lungs. Of those, 250 are known to be toxic, including about 70 that are known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke can trigger heart attacks in adults and can be devastating to children, causing sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory problems and asthma attacks.

To protect Coloradans from secondhand smoke, the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act was passed to keep these poisons out of innocent lungs.

Secondhand smoke comes from burning or exhaled cigarettes, cigars and pipes. It contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including 250 known to be toxic and about 70 that are known to cause cancer. Think of it this way, there are up to six times more toxins in a secondhand smoke-filled room than on a busy highway.1

Breathe in enough secondhand smoke and it can lead to heart disease and lung cancer. Secondhand smoke leads to 46,000 heart disease deaths and 3,400 lung cancer deaths in the United States each year.1

Secondhand smoke is extremely dangerous for pregnant women. It increases chances for miscarriages, reduction in child birth weights and pre-term delivery.2 Secondhand smoke also has severe health impacts on children.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8 
  2. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke – A Report of the Surgeon General, 2006
    How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease – A Report of the Surgeon General, 2010; Institute of Medicine, 2009 Journal of Pediatrics, 2011