CDC: Secondhand smoke affects 15 million kids

Atlanta – Four out of 10 children between the ages of 3 and 11 are exposed to secondhand smoke, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A child’s home is the primary source of exposure, researchers said, noting that although overall secondhand smoke exposure dropped by half from 1999-2000 to 2011-2012, 15 million children remain affected.

According to the Surgeon General, there is no such thing as a safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. About 70 chemicals within secondhand smoke are known to cause cancer. Side effects for infants and children include sudden infant death syndrome, respiratory infections, ear infections and asthma attacks.

CDC recommended that parents and guardians make their homes and vehicles 100 percent smoke free. Open windows, fans and air fresheners do not eliminate the dangers of secondhand smoke.

“Secondhand smoke can kill,” CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a press release. “Too many Americans, and especially too many American children, are still exposed to it. That 40 percent of children – including seven in 10 black children – are still exposed shows how much more we have to do to protect everyone from this preventable health hazard.”

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)