Secondhand Smoke is a Health Risk
Secondhand smoke – the smoke that comes from a lighted tobacco product or from a person who is smoking tobacco – contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Of these chemicals, 11 are known cancer-causing poisons and 250 are known toxins. The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke" concluded that there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke, and the only way to protect people from the dangers of secondhand smoke is to eliminate the smoke exposure.
Children are especially vulnerable to secondhand smoke toxins, since they breathe faster than adults, and weigh less. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, more severe asthma, respiratory symptoms and slowed lung growth.
A minimum of 38,000 and up to 65,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. as a result of diseases caused by exposure to secondhand smoke. Adults exposed to secondhand smoke are at a 25-30% increased risk of coronary heart disease. Thousands of people in the U.S. suffer from conditions caused by or made worse by secondhand smoke. As many as 175 Montanans die annually from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.