Surgeon General Reports Health Risks of
is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke, according to a
new report by U.S. Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona.
report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to
Tobacco Smoke, concludes that even brief secondhand smoke
exposure can cause immediate harm. The report said that the only way
nonsmokers are protected from secondhand smoke is if indoor smoking is
and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said that the report is a
warning sign to nonsmokers and smokers alike.
can sicken and kill, and even people who do not smoke can be harmed by
smoke from those who do," said Leavitt.
smoke contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals, causing
nonsmokers to inhale many of the same toxins as smokers.
smoke exposure can cause heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking
adults and is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome,
respiratory problems, ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and
children, according to the report.
scientific evidence is no indisputable: secondhand smoke is not a mere
annoyance," said Carmona. "It is a serious health hazard that can lead
to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults."
report also found t hat even the most sophisticated ventilation systems
cannot completely eliminate secondhand smoke exposure and only
smoke-free environments fully protect non-smokers.
Governor Signs Smoking Ban
that bans smoking in all public places in the state of Illinois was
signed by Governor Rod Blagojevich to help protect people from the
dangers of secondhand smoke.
Smoke-Free Illinois Act, or Senate Bill 500, was sponsored by State
Rep. Karen Yarbrough and State Sen. Terry Link. The statewide ban
applies to all public places including bars, restaurants, public
buildings and work places, making Illinois the 19th state to enforce a
legislation…makes it safe for people to visit or work in
restaurants and bars without putting their health at risk," said
Act overrules most local ordinances that exempted establishments that
installed approved air filtration systems from a smoking ban. The ban
does not apply to homes, cars, outdoors, private nursing home rooms,
home offices not open to the public, retail tobacco shops and certain
hotel or motel rooms.
smoke is not only unpleasant for non-smoking patrons," said Link. "That
smoke is dangerous – both for diners and employees."
Yourself and Others From Secondhand Smoke
your home and car smoke-free
people not to smoke around you and your children
sure that your children's day care
center or school is smoke-free
- Choose restaurants and other
that are smoke-free
- Teach children to stay away
secondhand smoke exposure
if you or your children have
respiratory conditions, if you have heart disease, or if you are
more information on the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General, visit www.surgeongeneral.gov.