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NAQC Newsroom: Tobacco Control

Smoke-Free Rules and Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Homes and Vehicles Among US Adults, 2009–2010

Thursday, May 16, 2013  
Posted by: Natalia Gromov

Four out of five U.S. adults report having voluntary smoke-free rules in their homes and three out of four report having voluntary smoke-free rules in their vehicles, according to a study published in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, a publication of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The National Adult Tobacco Survey respondents were classified as having smoke-free rules if they never allow smoking inside their homes or vehicles. The study is the first to present estimates of smoke-free rules and secondhand smoke exposure in vehicles among U.S. adults. Despite the high prevalence of voluntary smoke-free rules in homes and vehicles, the study found that almost 11 million non-smoking adults continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke in their home, and almost 17 million non-smoking adults continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke in a vehicle. The study also contains state-by-state data showing that the highest prevalence of smoke-free rules in homes and vehicles occurred in many states with comprehensive smoke-free laws and longstanding tobacco control programs.

Additional study findings include:

  • Eighty-one percent of U.S. adults report having smoke-free rules in their homes and 74 percent have smoke-free rules in their vehicles
  • Eighty-nine percent of non-smokers report having smoke-free home rules, while only 48 percent of smokers have them.

  • Eighty-five percent of non-smokers report having smoke-free vehicle rules, while only 27 percent of smokers have them.

  • Secondhand smoke exposure among nonsmokers in homes and vehicles was greatest among men, younger adults, non-Hispanic blacks, and those with a lower level of education.

  • Many of the states with the lowest prevalence of smoke-free rules in homes and vehicles are states with a high prevalence of adult smoking.

Exposure to secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in adult non-smokers. In children, secondhand smoke exposure causes more severe and frequent asthma attacks, acute respiratory infections, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for an estimated 50,000 deaths each year in the United States. The Surgeon General has concluded there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, and that only 100 percent smoke-free policies can protect non-smokers from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Opening a window does not work, nor does any other ventilation system.

The online version of the article will be available after noon (EDT) at http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/.

PCD article
CDC Press Release

Source: CDC/Office on Smoking and Health


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