Third Leading Cause of Preventable Death

It is firmly established by rigorous scientific research that secondhand smoke from cigarettes and other tobacco products creates substantial health risks for exposed non-smokers, especially children, and actually kills thousands of people each year. Under the authority of the Board of Health in Marquette County, the Marquette County Health Department has an obligation to inform the public about health risks and what can be done to reduce those risks.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concludes that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) – commonly known as secondhand smoke – is responsible for approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths each year in non-smoking adults and impairs the respiratory health of hundreds of thousands of children.

(Source: Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer & Other Disorders. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, December 1992)

  • Studies rank secondhand smoke as the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, after active smoking and alcohol use, with an estimated 53,000 deaths annually.

(Source: Glantz, S.A. & Parmley, W., 1991. American Heart Association Circulation, 83: 1-12; Taylor, A., Johnson, D. & Kazemi, H., 1992. American Heart Association Circulation, pp. 699-702; Glantz et al., 1995. Journal of American Medicine, 273, 13: 1047-1053).

  • Heart disease accounts for about 37,000 of the estimated 53,000 annual deaths attributed to involuntary smoking in the United States.

(Source: Glantz SA, Parmley WW. Passive Smoking and Heart Disease: Epidemiology, Physiology, and Biochemistry. Circulation 1991; 83:1-12)

  • Simple separation of smokers and non-smokers within the same airspace does not eliminate exposure of non-smokers to ETS.

(Surgeon General Report, 1986)

 

  • The Environmental Protection Agency report classified secondhand smoke a Group A carcinogen – a substance known to cause cancer in humans. There is no safe level of exposure for Group A toxins. The Group A designation has been used by EPA for only 15 other pollutants, including asbestos, radon, and benzene.

(Source: Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer & Other Disorders. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, December 1992)

 

  • Workers exposed to secondhand smoke are 34% more likely to get lung cancer.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

 

  • Secondhand smoke is especially harmful to children. ETS exposure increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. EPA estimates between 150,000 and 300,000 of these cases annually in infants and young children up to 18 months of age are attributable to exposure to ETS. Of these, between 7,500 and 15,000 will result in hospitalization.

(Source: Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer & Other Disorders. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, December 1992)

 

  • ETS exposure increases the frequency of episodes and severity of symptoms in asthmatic children. The report estimates that 200,000 to 1,000,000 asthmatic children have their condition worsened by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. ETS exposure is a risk factor for new cases of asthma in children who have not previously displayed symptoms.

(Source: Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer & Other Disorders. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, December 1992)

 

  • Chemicals present in secondhand smoke include cancer causing substances such as benzene found in gasoline, lead-car batteries, arsenic-poison, cadmium-rechargeable batteries as well as other harmful toxins such as formaldehyde-body preservative, ammonia-toilet bowl cleaner, and acetone-nail polish remover.

(Source: Health Effects of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Final Report, Sacramento: California Environmental Protection Agency, September 1997)

 

  • Michigan provides fewer smoke-free workplaces than almost any other state, ranking 47th out of 51.

(Source: National Cancer Institute study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, August, 2001)