58 million people exposed to secondhand smoke

While secondhand smoke exposure has declined significantly since 1999, about 58 million nonsmokers are still exposed to secondhand smoke.

And some groups – children, black people, those living in poverty and those living in rental properties – are exposed at a higher rate.

The findings were published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s VitalSigns report this month.

Secondhand smoke exposure in the U.S. dropped by half from one in two nonsmokers between 1999 and 2000 and to one in four nonsmokers between 2011 and 2012.

Among children ages 3 to 11, two in five (15 million kids) are exposed to secondhand smoke. Nearly half black nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, including seven in 10 black children.

More than two in five nonsmokers who live below the poverty level are exposed, and more than one in three nonsmokers in rental housing are exposed.

Secondhand smoke and the chemicals in it are known causes of sudden infant death syndrome and asthma attacks in children and adults. They’re also known causes of heart disease, stroke and lung cancer in adult nonsmokers, according to the report.

Secondhand smoke exposure kills an estimated 41,000 adult nonsmokers and 400 infants each year, according to the report.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at marissa.harshman@columbian.com or 360-735-4546.

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