Abstract Since the early s, there has been growing concern about potential health consequences of exposure to second-hand smoke SHS. Despite SHS being established as a risk factor for lung cancer development, the estimated risk has remained small yet somehow debatable. Human exposure to SHS is complicated because of temporal variabilities in source, composition, and concentration of SHS. The temporality of exposure to SHS is important for human lung carcinogenesis with a latency of many years.
Although he supported workplace smoking bans, he was frustrated by the willingness of so many anti-tobacco activists and public health officials to overlook or minimize the weakness of the scientific case that secondhand smoke causes fatal illnesses such as lung cancer and heart disease.
He wondered when it would be possible to have a calm, rational discussion of the issue, one in which skeptics would not be automatically dismissed as tools of the tobacco industry.
I suggested that such a conversation might take place once smoking bans became ubiquitous, at which point the political stakes would be lower. The article describes a large Secondhand smoke lung cancer study that "confirmed a strong association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer but found no link between the disease and secondhand smoke.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will tell you that "secondhand smoke causes an estimated 3, lung cancer deaths among U. The basic problem is that the doses of carcinogens absorbed by nonsmokers are much lower than the doses absorbed by smokers, so any lung cancer risk would be correspondingly small and therefore hard to detect using the blunt tools of epidemiology.
The associations found in studies of secondhand smoke and lung cancer which generally involve wives of smokers are weak, meaning it may be impossible to rule out alternative explanations. But none of that really matters, Patel says, because the main goal of smoking bans was "to change societal behavior" by stigmatizing smoking, making it less convenient and less socially acceptable.
Indeed, even if you accept every allegation about the hazards of secondhand smoke, it's clear that the real "public health" payoff from smoking bans, in terms of reducing tobacco-related morbidity and mortality, comes from shrinking the number of smokers. That is not what advocates of smoking bans said, however.
Their main rationale was always protecting bystanders, and they never had any patience for the distinction between public and private property, or the notion that people who choose to enter a bar or restaurant where smoking is allowed thereby consent to any risk posed by exposure to secondhand smoke.
By raising the stakes, it helped transform a complaint into a right, so that people annoyed by tobacco smoke now felt justified in demanding that it be eliminated everywhere they might want to go, including other people's property. The reality is, we probably won't. Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a nationally syndicated columnist.
Follow Jacob Sullum on Twitter.Learn about the dangers of secondhand smoke like lung cancer, heart disease, SIDS, respiratory illnesses (asthma, bronchitis, ear infections).
Find out how to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Inhaling secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in nonsmoking adults (1, 2, 4).
Approximately 7, lung cancer deaths occur each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke (1). Secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard causing more than 41, deaths per year.
It can cause or make worse a wide range of damaging health effects in children and adults, including lung cancer, respiratory infections and asthma.
Lung cancer is the third most-common cancer in the UK (around 46, people were diagnosed with the disease in ), and it is the most common cause of cancer-related death (around 35, people died in . Inhaling secondhand smoke causes lung cancer in nonsmoking adults (4, 5). Approximately 3, lung cancer deaths occur each year among adult nonsmokers in the United States as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.
• Secondhand smoke causes lung cancer, heart disease, chronic lung ailments such as bronchitis and asthma (particularly in children), sudden infant death syndrome and low birth weight.
• The only effective way to eliminate the harms associated with secondhand smoke is by.