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58 Million Americans Still Exposed to Secondhand Smoke

New data from the CDC show that 58 million nonsmokers in the US are exposed to secondhand smoke. While secondhand smoke exposure has generally declined, the progress is not the same for everyone. Particularly at risk are children between 3 and 11 years old, African Americans, those living below the poverty line, and those living in rental units.

Smoke is released from burning tobacco products, like cigars, cigarettes and pipes, or when a smoker exhales. Secondhand smoke is when the nonsmoker breathes in that smoke.  It is responsible for the deaths of more than 400 infants and 41,000 adult nonsmokers every year. Further, babies born to mothers who smoke, or who are exposed to secondhand smoke, are more likely to be born too small or too soon.

The best way to protect your family from secondhand smoke is to make your home smoke-free. Smoke can drift around the house and stay in fabrics and even in dust, so going to another room, opening a window or using a fan is not enough. Some tips for creating a smoke-free home are:

  • If you smoke, smoke only outside.
  • Post a sign on your front door to let visitors know that there is no smoking in your home.
  • Remove all ashtrays, matches and lighters from your home.

Need help quitting? Click here to find resources near you that can help you to quit smoking.

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Mayor Bernard C."Jack" Young,
Baltimore City Health Department,
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