Secondhand smoke is the combination of gases and small particles which includes smoke from cigarettes, pipes, or cigars, the smoke that is exhaled from someone smoking, and about 7,000 toxins and chemicals.
Of the thousands of chemicals and toxins in secondhand smoke, more than 250 are known to be harmful and 69 cause cancer.
When children are exposed to secondhand smoke, they are more susceptible to ear infections, more severe and frequent asthma attacks, respiratory problems and infections, and sudden infant death syndrome.
Secondhand smoke is responsible for hundreds of thousands of new cases of pneumonia and bronchitis in babies 18 months and younger every year.
Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 3,400 lung cancer deaths each year in the U.S. in those who do not smoke and increases their risk of lung cancer by 20-30 percent.
In the U.S. alone, secondhand smoke is responsible for 46,000 heart disease-related deaths every year in non-smokers.
The most recent studies report that roughly 88 million non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke in America in 2007-2008.
More than 50 percent of young children ages 3 to 11 were exposed to secondhand smoke in the same year and more than 18 percent of the children live with someone who smokes inside the home.
There are no safe levels of secondhand smoke exposure. Any exposure to the chemicals is harmful.
The only way to fully protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke is to ban smoking from indoor places.
Pregnant women subject to secondhand smoke are more vulnerable to spontaneous abortion, stillborn birth, low birth-weight for babies, and other pregnancy-related problems.