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How much do you know about secondhand smoke?

The U.S. Surgeon General recently announced that unless tobacco use rates fall, more than 5.6 million children in the United States will die early. Calling for a “tobacco-free generation” Surgeon General Dr Boris Lushniak released the first report in more than a decade to get the country talking about the leading cause of preventable death in our nation. However, as we know, you don’t have to be the smoker to impact your health.

Did you know?

Exposure to secondhand smoke increases your risk of stroke by 20 to 30 percent and by as much as 42 percent if your spouse is a smoker.

Babies and children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk of dying from SIDS, developing respiratory and lung infections, ear infections, and frequent asthma attacks.

Heart disease caused by secondhand smoke kills 46,000 non-smokers each year.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, 250 of which are known to be bad for your health.

70 toxins contained in secondhand smoke are known to cause cancer.

In children 18 months or younger, exposure to secondhand smoke causes up to 7,000 hospitalizations and as many as 150,000 to 300,000 cases of pneumonia and bronchitis each year.

80 percent of children admitted to the hospital for breathing problems have tobacco smoke detected in their saliva, yet only a third of parents say their children came in contact with smoke.  

It only takes 5 minutes of secondhand smoke exposure for the primary artery that provides blood flow from the heart to the body to stiffen to the amount of a smoker after having one cigarette.

The EPA classifies secondhand smoke as a Group A carcinogen.

An estimated 50,000 deaths from lung cancer are caused by secondhand smoke each year.

Avoid Secondhand Smoke

Help protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke by making sure the people around you do not smoke. Do not allow people to smoke in your car or your home. Ask people who care for your children, relatives and babysitters not to smoke. Choose smoke-free establishments when dining out. Teach your children to notice and avoid secondhand smoke, as well as why it is important not to smoke.