Secondhand Smoke

According to the CDC, “there is no risk-free level of contact with secondhand smoke; even brief exposure can be harmful to health.”

Secondhand smoke exposure is linked to significantly higher rates of lung cancer in nonsmokers. Air purifiers or other odor abatement measures do not remove the health risks of secondhand smoke exposure. “Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only way to fully protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, opening windows, and ventilating buildings does not eliminate secondhand smoke exposure,” states the CDC.

Smokefree.gov indicates that “[s]econdhand smoke is especially dangerous for children, babies, and women who are pregnant. Some of the more serious health effects include:

  • SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Babies whose moms smoke while pregnant or who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are more likely to die from SIDS.
  • Smaller babies. Mothers who breathe secondhand smoke while pregnant are more likely to have smaller babies. Babies born small are weaker and have a higher risk for many serious health problems.
  • Weak lungs. Babies who breathe secondhand smoke after birth have weaker lungs than other babies. This increases their risk of many health problems.
  • Severe asthma. Secondhand smoke causes kids who already have asthma to get more frequent and severe attacks.
  • Breathing problems. Kids whose parents smoke around them get bronchitis and pneumonia more often. Secondhand smoke also causes lung problems‚ including coughing‚ too much phlegm‚ wheezing‚ and breathlessness among school−aged kids.
  • Ear infections. Kids exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to get ear infections.”

Stef applauds the efforts of the Washington, DC Council to enact a 100% smokefree air law in 2006. American University became a tobacco and smoke free campus in 2013. As a cancer survivor, mother and health advocate, Stef is committed to helping share the facts about the dangers of secondhand smoke with others.