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Clearing the Air: EPA Secondhand Smoke Research Making a Difference

2014 February 4

Reposted from EPA Connect, the Official Blog of EPA Leadership

By Bob Perciasepe

Today, no-smoking policies have become so widespread that we hardly think twice when we’re enjoying a meal at a restaurant in a smoke-free environment.

Millions of Americans benefit from these policies, which have significantly reduced exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in public spaces. A few recent studies show us that further reducing exposure can save the U.S. $10 billion annually in healthcare costs and wages lost to sick leave.

Secondhand smoke, passive smoking, side stream smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) all refer to the same thing: the smoke exhaled by a smoker or given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar.  Whatever you call it, thanks to EPA scientists we know that exposure to such smoke threatens our health—and is especially risky for those most vulnerable like older Americans and our kids.

Through their research, our scientists released a landmark health assessment in 1992, The Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders, that found that secondhand smoke leads to serious health complications, and even premature death. The assessment concluded that infants and young children were especially sensitive to secondhand smoke exposure, leading to more respiratory infections like bronchitis and pneumonia, harming lower lung function, and worsening symptoms of asthma.

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Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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4 Responses leave one →
  1. Bouchakour permalink
    February 4, 2014

    The EPA scientists have done an admirable job in showing the misdeeds of smoking on the health of the smoker and those around him.
    It remains to persuade smokers to abstain completely, which is not always easy.
    Best regards

  2. Heljo Helga Valter permalink
    February 5, 2014

    Useful and good to read and know!

  3. Alexander permalink
    February 5, 2014

    It’s right I think. The human egoism is the main reason of all troubles.

  4. Arman.- permalink
    February 5, 2014

    Smokers like a suppressed human………………!

    If we reflection our ancestor are smoked, we can trust that smoking was save them to journey around the world. The first, the weather makes them to do it and the second, tobacco made them supported against stressed, enemies, and over saturated. Don’t forget, please…

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