Secondhand Smoke (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- What is secondhand smoke?
- What causes secondhand smoke?
- What are the health risks of secondhand smoke?
- Lung cancer and secondhand smoke
- Cardiovascular disease and secondhand smoke
- Other lung diseases and secondhand smoke
- Secondhand smoke and other effects on children
- Secondhand smoke and the effects on pregnant women
- Secondhand smoke and the possible link to breast cancer
- Is there a safe level of secondhand smoke?
- What is thirdhand smoke?
- What can be done about secondhand smoke exposure?
- Secondhand Smoke At A Glance
- Find a local Family Physician in your town
What are the health risks of secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoke carries many health risks. At least 250 harmful chemicals have been identified in secondhand smoke, including at least 50 carcinogens (chemicals that are known to cause cancer). Just some of the dangerous chemicals present in secondhand smoke include vinyl chloride, cadmium, benzene, arsenic, and ethylene oxide.
Secondhand smoke is known to cause cancer. It has been classified as a "known human carcinogen" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is also associated with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well as other serious health conditions; several are listed below.
Lung cancer and secondhand smoke
Passive smoking is an established risk factor for the development of lung cancer. Research has shown that nonsmokers who reside with a smoker have a 20% to 30% increase in risk for developing lung cancer when compared with nonsmokers who do not reside with a smoker. An estimated 3,400 lung cancer deaths that occur each year in the U.S. are attributable to passive smoking.
Cardiovascular disease and secondhand smoke
Like cigarette smoking itself, secondhand smoke is a significant risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease and heart attack. An estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers occur every year in the U.S.
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