Secondhand smoke exposure
Secondhand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, is exhaled by a person who is smoking. It also comes from the lit end of tobacco products, like cigarettes and cigars. Secondhand smoke is a dangerous mixture of over 7,000 chemicals, including 70 that cause cancer.
Secondhand smoke causes early death and disease in both children and adults who do not smoke. It increases risk for heart attacks, heart disease and stroke, and lung cancer. For example, it is estimated that secondhand smoke caused nearly 34,000 heart disease deaths each year during 2005–2009 among adult nonsmokers in the United States.
- There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure.
- Secondhand smoke is especially hazardous to children.
- Secondhand smoke is a powerful trigger for asthma attacks and other breathing problems.
Secondhand smoke exposure is completely preventable
Minnesota communities are working to protect children and families that are still exposed to secondhand smoke in homes, cars, and parks. Completely eliminating smoking indoors is the only way to protect people from secondhand smoke.
The Minnesota Comprehensive Tobacco Control Framework: 2016-2021 (PDF) recommends expanding clean indoor air policies to include locations like cars with children, lodging, treatment facilities, and other places used by the public.
Communities can reduce exposure through smoke-free policies
Local Minnesota communities are bringing cleaner, safer air to residents by working with local property managers and to implement smoke-free housing policies. Between November 2013 and August 2015, Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) grantees and their partners brought smoke-free housing policies to 365 rental properties around the state.
Parents can eliminate smoking in their homes and cars
Parents can help protect their families from secondhand smoke by eliminating smoking in their home and car, asking people not to smoke around their family and children, or by quitting tobacco altogether.
Learn more about the health risks of secondhand smoke.