National Environmental
Health Association Position on

Secondhand Tobacco Smoke

Adopted May 1998

Whereas the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)¹ has concluded that secondhand tobacco smoke causes about 3000 lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers annually in the United States, and

Whereas secondhand tobacco smoke is causally associated with an increased risk of lower respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia; 150,000 to 300,000 cases annually in infants and young children up to 18 months of age are attributable to secondhand smoke², and

Whereas secondhand smoke is causally associated with increased prevalence of fluid in the middle ear, symptoms of upper respiratory tract irritation, and a small but significant reduction in lung function in children², and

Whereas secondhand smoke is causally associated with additional episodes and increased severity of symptoms in children with asthma; the EPA estimates that 200,000 to 1,000,000 asthmatic children have their condition worsened by exposure to secondhand smoke², and

Whereas secondhand smoke is a risk factor for new cases of asthma in children who have not previously displayed symptoms², be it

Resolved that the National Environmental Health Association supports state and local governance throughout the United States in their efforts to enact local clean indoor air ordinances to protect the public from the effects of secondhand smoke, and be it further

Resolved that the National Environmental Health Association would support such a measure on a national level.

(Original paper prepared by Ginger L. Gist, Ph.D., DAAS, Senior Environmental Health Scientist, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry)

¹Kaiser J. Another look at secondhand smoke. Science 1995;270:903.
²American Lung Association. Respiratory health effects of passive smoking: lung cancer and other disorders. Http://www.alaw.org/etsepa.html #1-1 1998.

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