Secondhand smoke is tobacco smoke that affects a nonsmoker.
Secondhand smoke can come directly from a cigarette or other lit tobacco; it
may also be exhaled by a person smoking.
Secondhand smoke is sometimes referred to as environmental tobacco
smoke (ETS), involuntary smoking, or passive smoking.
Secondhand smoke contains the same cancer-causing and lung-damaging
chemicals that affect smokers. Repeated exposure to secondhand smoke over many
years can cause damage to a nonsmoker's lungs that is similar to that of a
Secondhand smoke is the most important risk factor for cancer among
nonsmokers, far greater than other known cancer-causing substances. Secondhand
smoke is most harmful to:
The spouse and any child of a person who smokes, or anyone who
lives with someone who smokes.
A developing fetus, if the pregnant woman smokes.
People who spend most of their time in
confined areas that are filled with tobacco smoke.
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Hughes, MD - Psychiatry
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.