The National Adult Tobacco Survey respondents were classified as having smoke-free rules if they never allow smoking inside their homes or vehicles. Despite the high prevalence of voluntary smoke-free rules in homes and vehicles, the study found that almost 11 million non-smoking adults continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke in their home, and almost 17 million non-smoking adults continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke in a vehicle. The study also contains state-by-state data showing that the highest prevalence of smoke-free rules in homes and vehicles occurred in many states with comprehensive smoke-free laws and longstanding tobacco control programs.
“We have made tremendous progress in the last 15 years protecting people in public spaces from secondhand smoke,” said Tim McAfee, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office on Smoking and Health at CDC, in a news release. “The good news is that people are applying the same protection in their homes and vehicles. However, millions of non-smokers, many of whom are children, remain exposed to secondhand smoke in these environments.”
Exposure to secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in adult non-smokers. In children, secondhand smoke exposure causes more severe and frequent asthma attacks, acute respiratory infections, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for an estimated 50,000 deaths each year in the United States. The Surgeon General has concluded there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and that only 100 percent smoke-free policies can protect non-smokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Opening a window does not work, nor does any other ventilation system.
The online version of the article is available at http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/.