In the winter of 2004, ANR launched a campaign to educate air filtration manufacturers and distributors about the issue of secondhand smoke health hazards, and to clean up misleading advertising within the air filtration industry.
Many air filtration companies claimed in their advertising and on their websites that their products could remove secondhand smoke from the air, leading to a public presumption that their products then could protect people from secondhand smoke.
No air filtration system has yet been created that can completely remove all the toxic constituents (both gases and particulates) in secondhand tobacco smoke. Health experts say that merely reducing the amount of smoke, rather than eliminating the smoke, does not imply any reduction in the health risks, such as heart attack, caused by exposure to tobacco smoke. This is because tobacco smoke exposure results in a "non-linear dose response" with significant short-term damage to the cardiovascular system even at very low levels of exposure.
The U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified secondhand tobacco smoke as a Class A carcinogen, citing that there is no safe level of exposure to it. No ventilation system exists that can remove all the toxins from smoke.
ANR has been successful in this campaign, as The Sharper Image, Wein Products, and other companies have adopted strong disclaimer language stating that no air filtration system can protect against secondhand smoke. We will continue to work with advocates in identifying companies who need more education on the issue. To report misleading advertising from an air filtration company, please contact us.
Feel free to view our letters to various air filtration companies, and where available, the response from each company.