CDC: 58M Americans exposed to secondhand smoke

An estimated 58 million American nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke from others' burning tobacco products, according to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The data, gathered from 2013 to 2014, show that progress in reducing the public’s exposure to secondhand smoke has stalled in recent years, despite major declines in past decades.

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The agency said the lack of a continued decline could be attributed to the slowed adoption of comprehensive smoke-free laws in all workplaces, restaurants and bars at the state and local levels.

According to the CDC, 27 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive smoke-free laws, but adoption of such laws has slowed in recent years.

From 2015 to 2017, 199 communities adopted comprehensive smoke-free laws, and 21 have implemented such laws as of July 2018.

According to the CDC, the percentage of nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke from 2011 to 2014 did not decline significantly across most demographics.

Exposure to secondhand smoke remains high for certain groups, including children ages 3-11 years, people living in poverty and people living in rental housing, the CDC said.

“We know there’s no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure,” CDC Director Robert Redfield said in a statement. “These findings reveal that there is still much more to do to protect everyone — especially children — from this completely preventable health hazard.”

Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, including about 70 that can cause cancer, the CDC said. Secondhand smoke is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory infections, ear infections and asthma attacks in infants and children, as well as heart disease, stroke and lung cancer in adult nonsmokers.