Secondhand Smoke Exposure not Declining, CDC Report Finds


Secondhand smoke exposure rates remain high, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report. About a quarter of nonsmoking US citizens are exposed, and almost 40 of children.

Exposure to secondhand smoke declined dramatically from 1988 to 2014 as smoking rates in the United States fell, according to the CDC report. But researchers found that progress has stalled with no change in exposure from 2012-2014. Last year, West Virginia legislators proposed a bill that would restrict smoking in the car while children are present. The bill didn’t pass. And West Virginia has the highest rates of cigarette smoking in the country.

Only 27 states and the District of Columbia have comprehensive smoke-free laws – West Virginia is not among them. But, according to the CDC, children between the ages of 3 and 11 have a disproportionately high likelihood of exposure compared with the overall secondhand smoke exposure rate. Those living in poverty or in rental housing or with less than a high school education were also most at risk.

Secondhand smoke exposure is associated with lung cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness and stroke.

Appalachia Helth News

Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from the Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.