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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Secondhand Smoke: A Killer

Jul 31, 2012 08:03AM ● By Dr. Ginger Marable

It is widely known that smoking is the number one avoidable cause of disease and death worldwide; the UN World Health Organization estimates that tobacco-related deaths will reach one billion this century.

But secondhand smoke, known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), is also a killer. ETS contains more than 250 toxic and cancer-causing chemicals, including arsenic, cyanide, formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride and ammonia. The American Lung Association estimates that ETS causes about 3,000 American non-smokers a year to die from lung cancer and up to 70,000 from heart disease.

Children are particularly vulnerable to ETS, with up to 325,000 annual cases of bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma and ear and respiratory infections, requiring up to 15,000 hospitalizations. Babies born to smoking mothers tend to have lower birth weight, weak lungs, and higher mortality rates, including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Children exposed to ETS make more trips to the doctor and have more difficulty in school.

Dr. Mehmet Oz recently claimed that for every four cigarettes the adults smoke, children nearby smoke one. In 2007, SB7 prohibited adults from smoking in vehicles when minors are passengers. In 1994, the Smoke-Free Workplace Act, AB 13, prohibited smoking in businesses, including restaurants and bars in California. ETS was recently declared a toxic air contaminant by the California Air Resources Board. In fact, the Surgeon General has declared that there is no risk-free level of exposure to ETS.

Rooms contaminated by ETS can have pollution levels six times higher than a busy highway. Nicotine can stay in a room for up to two weeks. Trying to avoid ETS by opening a window, turning on a fan, or using air fresheners does little to diminish the dangers of ETS.

How can you protect yourself and others from ETS? Don’t smoke in your home or car, especially around children. Quit for yourself and your loved ones, and help others who are trying to quit.


Ginger Marable, owner of Absolutely Smoke Free—1 Hour!, holds a PhD in Human Behavior and is a Certified Hypnotherapist/Smoking Cessation Specialist. Her one-hour smoke-free hypnosis system has a 95 percent success rate and a lifetime guarantee. For more information, visit AbsolutelySmokeFree.com, or call 760-420-2279.

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