In October, the Institute of Medicine released a conclusive report demonstrating that even relatively brief exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart attacks. The report also finds that smoke-free laws both prevent heart attacks and save lives.
The findings also make a compelling case for individuals to implement smoke-free policies in their own homes.
Research has long shown that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. However, researchers at MassGeneral Hospital for Children have recently explored a newer topic: thirdhand smoke. The new term refers to the invisible toxins that exist even after the smoke has cleared - often embedded in carpet, furniture or even clothes.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released a report that shows increased awareness of the harms of thirdhand smoke may help encourage people to adopt home smoking bans. To protect your children, learn more about how to make your home smoke-free.
Both nationwide and here in Washington state, many children are still exposed to secondhand smoke in homes and cars. In fact, every year up to 26,000 kids develop asthma as a result of secondhand smoke.
That's why the Tacoma- Pierce County Health Department is partnering with the MultiCare Health System to raise awareness about the risks associated with smoking while driving. Children are more severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke – their lungs are still developing, they have higher breathing rates than adults, and they have little control over their indoor environments.
In February 2008, the World Health Organization released a landmark report on global tobacco control that estimates tobacco use could kill one billion people worldwide in the 21st century.
The report outlines the six most important – and most effective – tobacco control policies to counter the epidemic. A central strategy is to "Protect people from tobacco smoke." Today, only five percent of people around the globe are protected from secondhand smoke by comprehensive smoke-free legislation.
Read the report on the WHO Web site.
Last Updated: 05/21/13
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