Reducing Exposure to Secondhand Smoke: 25 Years of Progress

Twenty-five years ago, EPA issued the landmark 1993 report, Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders. The report designated secondhand smoke as a group-A carcinogen: a known human cancer-causing agent. Secondhand smoke is a mixture of the smoke exhaled by smokers and that given off by lighted tobacco products like cigarettes and cigars.

Since 1993, Americans have made great progress in reducing their exposure to secondhand smoke. Then, about 80 percent of nonsmoking Americans were exposed to secondhand smoke; by 2014 it had dropped dramatically-to 25 percent! Also, by 2015, U.S. homes with smoke-free rules had doubled to 86 percent, from just 43 percent in 1993.

Smoke-free rules were adopted in other areas as well, including restaurants and bars, workplaces, enclosed public places, and college campuses. There are now about 25 statewide smoke-free laws and more than 900 other state and local laws. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a rule that requires all public housing to implement a smoke-free policy by July 31, 2018.

On January 10, the American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation hosted a public briefing call to celebrate the report's 25th anniversary. Guest speakers included Bill Reilly, the EPA Administrator who issued the report. Listen to a recording of the call or access the audio-linked presentations. As underscored in the report, not smoking indoors is the best way to eliminate secondhand smoke from the indoor environment.

Secondhand Smoke     Secondhand Smoke     Secondhand Smoke

Source: U.S. EPA