Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke causes cancer and many other serious health ailments.

Environmental tobacco smoke is smoke that is inhaled involuntarily or passively by someone who is  not smoking. Secondhand smoke is classified as a “known human carcinogen” (cancer-causing agent) by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Cigarette smoke is a toxic mixture of more than 4,000 known chemical compounds.  There is no safe level of exposure.


  • Causes cancer: Secondhand smoke has more than 50 carcinogens; it causes lung cancer in non-smokers. About 3,400 deaths occur in the U.S. annually caused by lung cancer resulting from secondhand smoke.
  • Causes death: Secondhand smoke causes premature death in children and adults who do not smoke. More than 67,000 deaths annually in the U.S result from secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Causes asthma: Exposure of school-age children to secondhand smoke can cause asthma, cough, phlegm, wheezing and shortness of breath. It can also cause wheezing illnesses in early childhood.
  • Causes ear infections: Exposure of children to secondhand smoke can cause middle infections.
  • Causes SIDS: Smoking by women during pregnancy increases the risk for SIDS and infants who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are at an increased for SIDS.

Thirdhand Smoke

Thirdhand smoke is residual nicotine and other chemicals left on indoor surfaces by tobacco smoke. People are exposed to these chemicals by touching contaminated surfaces or breathing in the off-gassing from these surfaces.


Find Contacts in Your Area

The Southwest PA Wellness Partners Coalition is a multi-county effort created to address the diverse issue of tobacco use in the southwestern health district of Pennsylvania.

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