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Health Tip: Deadly Secondhand Smoke

Children are not immune

(HealthDay News) -- Smokers aren't the only ones being harmed by their habit. Secondhand smoke kills, too -- and children are among its victims.

In the United States alone, the American Cancer Society says secondhand smoke is responsible for an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 deaths from heart disease in people who are not current smokers; about 3,000 lung cancer deaths in nonsmoking adults; other respiratory problems in nonsmokers, including coughing, phlegm, chest discomfort and reduced lung function; and 150,000 to 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months.

Here are three places where you should be especially concerned about exposure to secondhand smoke:

  • Your workplace: Secondhand smoke is classified as a potential cancer-causing agent by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal agency responsible for health and safety regulations in the workplace.
  • Public places: Everyone is vulnerable to secondhand smoke exposure in public places, such as restaurants, shopping centers, public transportation, schools and day-care centers.
  • Your home: Any family member can develop health problems related to secondhand smoke. Think about it: we spend more time at home than anywhere else. A smoke-free home protects your family, your guests, and even your pets.
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