Health: Second Hand Smoke Exposure Declining

Good news for lung health this week. Since 2000, exposure to secondhand smoke in America has dropped 50%–now only 25% of American nonsmokers were exposed to secondhand smoke. This is due to smoking being banned in many bars, restaurants, offices, and public spaces in around 700 towns and cities and in 26 states and the District of Columbia. There was also an overall decrease in Americans smoking inside their homes as 83% did not allow it. Lastly, culturally and socially, smoking has become more stigmatized, causing the overall smoking rate to drop. Still, every year the 25% of American nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at a grave risk of being one of 41,000 deaths from lung cancer and heart disease or one of 400 deaths from sudden infant death syndrome. Every year, tobacco products cause 480,000 deaths, making it the primary cause of preventable death. Among poverty, exposure was extremely high, about 43% of people, while those considered not impoverished averaged around 21% of people. Additionally, 40% of children between the ages of 3 and 11 were exposed to secondhand smoke, the highest of any age group as they spend large amounts of time in their homes where there parents might smoke.

Contributor: Suriya Sharma

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