Health Effects Of Secondhand Smoke On Children

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September 2009

The 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's Report, "The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Secondhand Smoke," has concluded that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke and that, on average, children are exposed to more secondhand smoke than adults. Children are significantly affected by secondhand smoke. Children's bodies are still developing, and exposure to the poisons in secondhand smoke puts them at risk of severe respiratory diseases and can hinder the growth of their lungs. Secondhand smoke is a known cause of low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, middle ear infection, and other diseases.1

Although levels of secondhand smoke exposure declined between 1988-1994 and 1999-2004 in the general population overall, children were the sub-group with the least rate of decline.2

Low Birth Weight

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Cognitive Impairments

Behavioral Problems

Respiratory Problems


Repercussions on Adult Health

May be reprinted with appropriate attribution to the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation,© 2009.


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