Smoking kills, even if you don’t smoke. As a result of widespread tobacco use, approximately 443,000 Americans die each year from tobacco-related illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, according to a 2008 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 11 percent of these deaths resulted from secondhand smoke exposure.
“[Secondhand smoking] is a very serious problem,” said Geri Healey-Dame, System Director of Respiratory Care for Hallmark Health System. “I believe it’s pretty significant. We see a lot of patients with lung disease. They can be people who have never smoked, but work in a smoking environment, like waitresses and bartenders.”
Many factors cause cancer. From manmade chemicals to environmental exposure, secondhand smoke contributes to health problems that affect the respiratory system, cardiac function and cancers.
Secondhand smoke is the most common cause of tobacco intake. While there are devices that can test for indoor chemicals and smoke, there are nearly no safety measures when encountering smoke outdoors. Because smoke can be anywhere at any time, even breathing in a little bit can be harmful.