Tobacco Smoke Pollution
Tobacco smoke pollution, or secondhand smoke, comes from two places: smoke breathed out by the person who smokes, and smoke from the end of a burning cigarette. Tobacco smoke pollution causes or exacerbates a wide range of adverse health effects, including cancer, respiratory infections, and asthma.
Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals-- 200 are poisons and at least 69 cause cancer and other diseases. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified tobacco smoke pollution as a known cause of cancer in humans (Group A carcinogen).
The EPA estimates that secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths and 37,000 heart disease deaths in nonsmokers each year.
Tobacco smoke pollution is especially harmful to young children. EPA estimates that secondhand smoke is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age annually, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year.Tobacco smoke pollution is harmful to children with asthma.The EPA estimates that for between 200,000 and one million asthmatic children, exposure to secondhand smoke worsens their condition.
Clean Air Council has long been a leader educating the public about and advocating for smoke-free initiatives. The Council was integral in advocating for smoke-free legislation in the City of Philadelphia and for the state of Pennsylvania. For nearly ten years, the Council has served as a provider of numerous, innovative tobacco control services for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, covering 34 of the 67 counties in Pennsylvania.