Secondhand smoke, as it is commonly referred to, is the combination of mainstream smoke (smoke emanating from the mouthpiece end of a cigarette or exhaled from the lungs) and sidestream smoke (smoke emanating from the ignited end of a cigarette).
According to the National Cancer Institute and the American Lung Association:
- Tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals. There are 250 toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke, including 69 known cancer-causing agents (carcinogens).
- Inhaling secondhand smoke can lead to disease and premature death. Secondhand smoke may increase the risk of heart disease and can lead to health risks in children and pregnant women. Approximately 3,400 nonsmokers die each year of lung cancer caused by secondhand smoke exposure.
In recent years, smoke-free legislation has greatly increased the number of public places, including workplaces, which are now smoke-free.