Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, secondhand smoke, also known as “passive smoking” or “environmental tobacco smoke” causes disease and premature death for nonsmoking adults and children, because tobacco smoke contains toxic chemicals that increase health risks. With it widely recognized as harmful to an individual's personal health, smoking now constitutes a universal public health risk. The U.S. Department of Human Services reports that nicotine is detectible in 43 percent of the nation's nonsmokers. It also notes the exposure of almost 22 million children to secondhand smoke. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) all identify passive smoking as a “known human carcinogen” (cancer-causing agent). Other health risks include asthma, stunted growth, coronary heart disease, and lung cancer. Even brief exposure could detrimentally affect an individual's health. The American Lung Association states that secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,400 lung cancer ...