Thursday, February 05, 2015

Children and Secondhand Smoke

Exposure to secondhand smoke fell steeply between 1999 and 2012, according to a CDC study of nicotine metabolite levels in blood. The percentage of nonsmokers aged 3 or older with detectable levels of nicotine in their blood fell from 52.5 percent in 1999-2000 to just 25.3 percent in 2011-2012.

Behind the decline is the elimination of smoking from most bars, restaurants, work sites, and public places. "The Surgeon General has concluded that eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from SHS [secondhand smoke] exposure," notes the CDC in its report. But many children are exposed to secondhand smoke at home, which explains why they have the highest levels of nicotine in their blood...

Percentage of nonsmokers with detectable levels of nicotine in their blood 
Aged 3 to 11: 41%
Aged 12 to 19: 34%
Aged 20 or older: 21%

Source: CDC, Disparities in Nonsmokers' Exposure to Secondhand Smoke—United States, 1999-2012

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