A new report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has showed that a shocking 58 million nonsmokers are still facing the brunt of cigarette smoking after getting exposed to secondhand smoke.
The federal health officials on Tuesday said that even though fewer people in the United States are smoking due to more smoke-free laws, a large number of people are exposed to the dangerous tobacco smoke due to secondhand smoking.
According to a report, the exposure to secondhand smoke declined by half between the periods 1999-2000 and 2011-12, but despite this fact the nonsmokers continued to face the ill-effects of passive smoking in large numbers.
Addressing a midday press conference, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said, “Secondhand smoke can kill, and too many Americans — and particularly too many children — are still exposed to secondhand smoke.”
40 percent of children between age group 3 and 11 are breathing in secondhand smoke and the figure is high among black children, i.e. 70 percent, as per the latest CDC estimates.
“There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals including about 70 that can cause cancer,” Frieden said while citing the US Surgeon General.
The effect of secondhand smoke on infants and children is linked to serious health issues like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections, asthma attacks and ear infections. On the other hand, passive smoke causes stroke, heart disease and lung cancer in adult nonsmokers.
Secondhand smoke claims lives of more than 41,000 Americans each year from diseases like lung cancer and heart-related ailment, while it results into 400 preventable deaths from SIDS.
The study’s findings were published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on February 3.