Secondhand Smoke


You don’t smoke, but you’re around people who do.  Think you’re safe?  More than 53,000 people die in the U.S. every year from exposure to secondhand smoke – more than 500 adults a year in Arkansas alone.

Secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer in those who have never smoked.  Even brief exposure can damage cells in ways that set the cancer process in motion.  For each cigarette smoked, a nonsmoker inhales as much benzene as someone who has smoked six cigarettes; as much 4-aminobiphenyl as one who has smoked 17 cigarettes; as much N-nitrosodimethylamine as one who has smoked 75 cigarettes.

Nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke increase their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30%.  Employees who work in smoke-filled businesses suffer a 25-50% higher risk of heart attack and higher rates of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.  When it comes to tobacco smoke, there is no safe exposure.