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Secondhand Smoke Facts

No exposure to smoke is safe!


  • Secondhand smoke is the tobacco smoke that is exhaled by someone actively smoking or given off by a burning tobacco product, which is involuntarily or passively inhaled by someone who is not smoking.
  • There is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke according to a 2006 report from the U.S. Surgeon General, even brief exposure causes damage that is known to cause illness and cancer.
  • The EPA has identified secondhand smoke as a Class A carcinogen.  This is the most toxic class of chemicals which are known to cause cancer in humans.
  • There are more than 480,000 deaths each year in the US caused by cigarette use and exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke costs about $5.6 billion annually in lost productivity, according to The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General.

Download a pdf of our secondhand smoke factsheet or rack card.

Other Secondhand Smoke on College Campuses Resources