Number of Americans Exposed to Secondhand Smoke Declines, but it’s still Blamed for more than 40,000 Deaths a Year
Exposure to secondhand smoke has declined significantly, but more than 40,000 people still die every year in the United States from others’ smoking habits.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the share of non-smokers exposed to secondhand smoke declined from 52.5% during 1999–2000 to 25.3% during 2011–2012. The drop was attributed to local ordinances and laws banning smoking in public places. Twenty-six states and about 700 cities have embraced such prohibitions.
It’s a similar situation in private homes. In 1993, 43% of individuals reported banning smoking in their houses and apartments. That rate climbed to 83% by 2011.
The CDC reported that secondhand smoke caused more than 40,000 fatalities annually from 2005 to 2009. Of these deaths, 34,000 were heart-related and 7,300 were from lung cancer.
Exposure to secondhand smoke dropped overall, but children and minorities are disproportionally affected by it. The CDC reported that during 2011–2012, 40.6% of children aged 3 to 11 years; 46.8% of non-Hispanic blacks; 43.2% of those living below the poverty level (43.2%); and 36.8% of those living in rental housing were exposed to second-hand smoke. African-American children get the most exposure: 67.9% of non-Hispanic blacks ages 3 to 11 were exposed to second-hand smoke, compared with 37.2% of non-Hispanic whites and 29.9% of Mexican Americans.
To Learn More:
Vital Signs: Disparities in Nonsmokers’ Exposure to Secondhand Smoke — United States, 1999–2012 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) (abstract)
Secondhand Smoke Exposure Drops, CDC Reports (by Sabrina Tavernise, New York Times)
Secondhand Smoke (SHS) Facts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Surgeon General Report Accuses Cigarette Smoking of Causing Diabetes, Arthritis and Erectile Dysfunction (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
San Rafael Ban on Smoking in Multi-Family Housing Takes Effect (by Ken Broder, AllGov California)
Tobacco Industry Objects to Having to Admit it Lied about Dangers of Smoking (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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