Font Size

Secondhand Smoke (cont.)

Secondhand Smoke Health Risks

Patient Comments

Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of harmful chemicals. About 70 cancer-causing substances have been identified in secondhand smoke, and secondhand smoke has been classified as a "known human carcinogen" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A carcinogen is a chemical substance that has been proven to cause cancer.

Besides causing cancers, secondhand smoke carries multiple additional health risks for both adults and children. These risks are outlined in the following sections.

Secondhand Smoke and Lung Cancer

People who do not smoke but reside with a smoker have a greater chance of developing lung cancer than typical nonsmokers. Each year in the United States, over 7,000 people die as a result of lung cancer that develops as a result of secondhand smoke, or passive smoking.

Secondhand Smoke and Heart Disease

Cigarette smoking is a known risk factor for the development of the kind of heart disease that can cause heart attack. Just as nonsmokers living with a smoker have an increased risk of lung cancer, nonsmokers who live with a smoker are more likely to get cardiovascular disease and suffer heart attack. It has been estimated that every year, almost 34,000 deaths in the U.S. are due to heart disease in non-smokers caused by their exposure to second-hand smoke.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/12/2014

Must Read Articles Related to Secondhand Smoke

Asthma in Children
Asthma in Children Children account for 47.8% of asthma-related visit...learn more >>
Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Breast cancer is the second leading cause o...learn more >>
Smoking (Cigarette)
Cigarette Smoking Cigarette smoking remains the leading cause of death and illness among Americans. Effects of smoking can cause cancers, emphysema, bronchitis, COPD, chronic cou...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Secondhand Smoke:

Secondhand Smoke - Patient Experience

Have you been diagnosed with a disease related to secondhand smoke? Please describe your experience.

Secondhand Smoke - Reducing Smoke Exposure

What measures have you taken to reduce your exposure to secondhand smoke?

Medical Dictionary