Genesee County Health Department
Better Life Through Better Health
When are you exposed to Secondhand Smoke?
Each day, nonsmokers may be exposed to significant amounts of
secondhand smoke. Exposure can happen from the smoke that comes directly
from a cigarette, pipe or cigar or when someone exhales that smoke.
Secondhand smoke causes or worsens many health problems. Scientists
estimate that secondhand smoke causes about 3,000 lung cancer deaths and
37, 000 heart disease deaths each year among nonsmokers. Exposure can
also increase or worsen episodes of asthma in the 190, 000 Michigan
children with the condition. Avoid places where children and adults can
be exposed to secondhand smoke. Although a home or car is smokefree,
exposure can occur in other places.
To avoid secondhand smoke:
- Donít let people smoke in your house, vehicle or around your
- Smoke can drift from the smoking section into nonsmoking areas of
restaurants. Select smoke-free restaurants or ask that a restaurant
go smoke free. Call the local health department for a list of
- Ask friends and relatives not to smoke around your children and
you. If they still smoke, then limit visits with them at their homes
or other places where they smoke.
- A safe workplace is a right. Ask your employer to make your
workplace safe from secondhand smoke.
- Avoid groups of people smoking outside building entrances, if
possible. Use another door or ask management to move the smoking
area away from public entrances.
- At sports events or music concerts, 3 hours of exposure to
secondhand smoke is equal to smoking one cigarette. Ask if events
are smoke-free before attending or sit in a nonsmoking area.
This is one of a series of columns about secondhand smoke. For more
information, contact the Genesee County Health Department at (810)