Number of Smoke-Free Households on the Increase

CDC report found the proportion went from 43% in 1993 to 72% in 2003

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THURSDAY, May 24, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- The proportion of American households that forbid smoking increased from 43 percent in 1992-93 to 72 percent in 2003, a new government report shows.

However, rates of smoke-free households varied widely among states. In both 1992-93 and 2003, Utah had the highest rates of smoke-free homes (69.6 percent in 1992-93 and 88.8 percent in 2003), while Kentucky had the lowest rates -- 25.7 percent and 53.4 percent, respectively.

The study is in this week's issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, which is published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"In the past decade, we've seen tremendous declines in secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace and public places. However, millions of children and nonsmoking adults remain at risk, because their homes are not smoke-free," CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding said in a prepared statement. "The single best step that smokers can take to protect the health of nonsmoking family members and their own health is to quit smoking."

A second study in the same issue of MMWR found that 47 percent of teenagers worldwide are exposed to secondhand smoke at home, and 48 percent are exposed to secondhand smoke in other locations. Researchers analyzed data on teens, aged 13-15, in 137 countries and territories, who took part in the Global Youth Tobacco Survey.

The study also concluded that teens who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to start smoking.

Progress is being made in raising public awareness about the dangers of secondhand smoke and reducing nonsmoker's exposure to it, but "too many youth in the United States continue to be exposed, and children around the world are being exposed in huge numbers," Dr. Matt McKenna, director of the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in a prepared statement.

Smoke-free environments are the theme for this year's World No Tobacco Day on May 31. The annual event is sponsored by the World Health Organization. This year, the CDC and other organizations around the world will provide the public and government officials with information about the health hazards of secondhand smoke and highlight progress being made in protecting nonsmokers.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about secondhand smoke.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, May 24, 2007


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