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About 21% of all adults (45 million people) smoke cigarettes in the United States.Secondhand smoke is a complex mixture of gases and particles that include smoke from the quit-smoking.jpgburning cigarette. Secondhand smoke contains at least 250 known toxic chemicals, more than 50 can cause cancer.Secondhand smoke causes heart disease and lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and a number of health conditions, including sudden infant death syndrom, respiratory infections in children. Over 126 million nonsmoking Americans are exposed to second hand smoke. Most exposure to tobacco smoke occurs in homes and workplaces. About 60% of children in the united states aged 3–11 years—or almost 22 million children—are exposed to secondhand smoke!

Law in Illinois

On January 1, 2008, the Smoke-free Illinois Act prohibited smoking in virtually all public places and workplaces, this includes offices, theaters, museums, libraries, educational institutions, schools, commercial establishments, enclosed shopping centers and retail stores, restaurants, bars, private clubs and gaming facilities. Illinois joins 22 other states that have taken this important step to protect its residents, workers and visitors from the harmful and hazardous effects of secondhand smoke.
In a 2006 report by the U.S. Surgeon General, it was estimated that exposure to secondhand smoke kills at least 65,000 people a year in the United States who do not smoke. There is no protection afforded by separating smokers from non-smokers within the same enclosed environment, and ventilation systems and air cleaners are not effective at eliminating secondhand smoke. The only effective means of protecting people from secondhand smoke is to eliminate smoking indoors, which this law does in regards to public places.

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Diseases and Deaths

Secondhand smoke can cause harm in many ways. In the United States alone, each year it is responsible for:

  • an estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers
  • about 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults
  • other breathing problems in non-smokers, including coughing, mucus, chest discomfort, and reduced lung function
  • 150,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually
  • increases in the number and severity of asthma attacks in about 200,000 to 1 million children who have asthma
  • more than 750,000 middle ear infections in children

  • pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are also at increased risk of having low birth -weight babies
Long-Term Effects
There are many different effects to secondhand smoking. They aref about the same or sometimes worse than actually smoking. Some of the effects include:
        • heart_and_smoke.jpgLung cancer
        • Pancratic cancer
        • Heart problems
        • Infertility
        • Early death

Some of these things are only caused because someone has been around someone who smokes constantly. Others may be if you were in a room with a smoker for 5 minutes. Secondhand smoking is a huge problem, and the long term effects make it even more of a problem to people across the country and the world.

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Short-term exposure to smoking also has an effect on the heart of non-smokers. Just 30 minutes of exposure can to reduce blood flow.It depends on the susceptibility of a person to the nicotine. Some people can stay in a room with smokers for a long time without being effected. Others may feel ill within minutes or an hour of exposure to environmental smoke.Asthma patients may experience attacks due to ETS exposure.Allergy patients may experience all types of symptoms from allergys like stuffy nose, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing etc. Exposure to passive smoke can lead to immediate problems such as irritation of the nose, eyes or throat, coughs, nausea, dizziness and headaches. Every year in the U.K 17,000 children under five years old are sent to hospitals because of illnesses related to passive smoking. The risk of cot death has greatly increased in children who are exposed to smoke either during pregnancy, or at home when one or two parents smoke.