Secondhand Smoke Exposure

Secondhand smoke exposure has been causally linked to lung cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and other serious illness in adult nonsmokers, infants, and children. In the United States, at least 30 percent of all cancer deaths each year are caused by cigarette smoking and secondhand smoke exposure. According to the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General, exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,300 lung cancer deaths annually among adult nonsmokers in the United States. The report also estimates that living with a smoker increases a nonsmoker’s chances of developing lung cancer by 20 to 30 percent.

In addition to cancer deaths, the 2014 Surgeon General’s Report concluded that exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 34,000 heart disease deaths each year and increases the risk of stroke by 20 to 30 percent. Secondhand smoke exposure before and during pregnancy is causally linked to reduced fertility, pregnancy complications, and poor birth outcomes, including impaired lung development, low birth weight, and preterm delivery. Major settings of exposure include workplaces, public places, and homes. Workplaces and homes are especially significant sources of exposure because of the length of time people spend in these settings.

NCI’s Smoke-free Meetings Policy

In July 2006, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) announced a new policy requiring that meetings and conferences organized or primarily sponsored by NCI be held in a state, county, city, or town that had adopted a comprehensive smokefree policy, unless specific circumstances justify an exception. The policy went into effect January 1, 2007.

National Cancer Institute’s Smoke-free Meetings Policy (PDF)

National Cancer Institute Smoke-free Meetings Policy FAQ (PDF)

Press Releases in English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF) from NCI’s announcement of the policy. Note: The links contained within these PDFs have been archived and are no longer active.

Tools

In 2018, NCI released the NCI Tobacco Policy Viewer, an interactive online resource for mapping, querying, and downloading historical smokefree policy data in the United States. The tool reveals variation across U.S. cities, counties, and states by the types of indoor areas that are smokefree, length of time since the smokefree policy went into effect, and percentage of people who are protected by the policy.

The Did You Know? Video Series was developed by NCI’s SEER Program to highlight key topics and trends in cancer statistics. Watch the Lung and Bronchus Cancer Statistics exit disclaimer video to learn about types of lung cancer, risk factors for developing lung cancer, and statistics on lung cancer diagnoses and survival.

The Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) is an NCI-sponsored survey of tobacco use that has been administered as part of the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey approximately every three to four years since 1992-93. The 2014-2015 TUS-CPS highlights trends in smoking policies in both homes and workplaces, which are illustrated in Figure 7 and Table 5 of the 2014-2015 Highlights document.

Project Title PI Name Organization Grant Number
Household Air Pollution and Health: A Multi-Country Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) Intervention Trial Thomas Clasen, J.D., Ph.D. Emory University UM1HL134590
Intervening with Smoking Parents of Inpatients to Reduce Exposure Gwendolyn Kerby, M.D. University of Colorado Denver R01CA181207
Multilevel Tobacco Intervention in Community Clinics for Underserved Families Stephen Lepore, Ph.D., Ed.M. Temple University of the Commonwealth R01CA188813
Evaluation of Smoke-free Housing Policy Impacts on Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Health Outcomes Lorna Thorpe, Ph.D., M.P.H. New York University School of Medicine R01CA220591

For information on all TCRB grants, please see the Active Funded Grants, Previously Funded Grants, and Current Funding Announcements webpages. You can also view additional information for Behavioral Research Program Funding Opportunities and grantee resources.

 

Centers for Disease Control. Perspectives in disease prevention and health promotion 1986 Surgeon General’s report: The health consequences of involuntary smoking. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 1986;35(50):769-770.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State and Local Comprehensive Smoke-Free Laws for Worksites, Restaurants, and Bars – United States, 2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65(24):623-626.

Diver WR, Jacobs EJ, Gapstur SM. Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Childhood and Adulthood in Relation to Adult Mortality Among Never Smokers. Am J Prev Med. 2018;55(3):345-352. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2018.05.005.

Institute of Medicine Committee on Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Acute Coronary Events. Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2010. doi:10.17226/12649.

National Cancer Institute. A Socioecological Approach to Addressing Tobacco-Related Health Disparities. National Cancer Institute Tobacco Control Monograph 22. NIH Pub. No. 17-CA-8035A. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute; 2017.

National Cancer Institute. Health Effects of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph 10. NIH Pub. No. 99-4645. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Cancer Institute; 1999.

National Research Council. Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Measuring Exposures and Assessing Health Effects exit disclaimer. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 1986.

Tsai J, Homa DM, Gentzke AS, Mahoney M, Sharapova MD, Sosnoff MS, Caron KT, Lanqing W, Melstrom PC, Trivers KF. Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Among Nonsmokers — United States, 1988–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67(48):1342–1346. DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6748a3

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of the Surgeon General; 2014.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2006.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, Center for Health Promotion and Education, Office on Smoking and Health; 1986.

U.S. National Cancer Institute and World Health Organization. The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control. National Cancer Institute Tobacco Control Monograph 21. NIH Publication No. 16-CA-8029A. Bethesda, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute; and Geneva, CH: World Health Organization; 2016. (see Chapter 6)

Vijayaraghavan M, Benmarnhia T, Pierce JP, White MM, Kempster J, Shi Y, Trinidad DR, Messer K. Income disparities in smoking cessation and the diffusion of smoke-free homes among U.S. smokers: Results from two longitudinal surveys. PLoS ONE. 2018;13(7):e0201467. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0201467.

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