Health and Economic Impact of Secondhand Smoke
For years numerous studies have pointed to the harm associated with using tobacco. There have been thousands of studies that link tobacco use to premature death and illnesses in thousands of Americans. Over 443,000 deaths in the U.S. annually are linked to tobacco use.
Second hand smoke is a mixture of smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke
exhaled from the lungs of smokers. This mixture contains more than 4,000 substances, more than 40 of which are
know to cause cancer in humans or animals and many of which are strong irritants (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1993) In more recent years there has been a focus on determining what impact exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (or second hand smoke as it is sometimes called) has. As a result, it has become increasingly clear that exposure to ETS is also linked to a significant number of health problems.
|General Health Effects
Basic overview of key health effects of secondhand smoke.
|Bibliography of Secondhand Smoke Studies
An extensive bibliography of over 300 studies on the health impact of secondhand smoke compiled by the Americans for Nonsmoker's Rights.
|Economic Impact of Secondhand Smoke (SHS)
Reviews some of the economic effects of secondhand smoke.
General Health Effects of SHS
|Since the early 1970s the number of studies conducted about second hand smoke and environmental tobacco smoke have increased dramatically. Study after study links exposure to ETS with both major and minor health problems. Unlike some substances, there is no "safe" level of exposure to second hand smoke (Health Advocate Magazine, 1996). Young children are particularly susceptible to ETS. Since many customers and employees bring their children to businesses it is important to understand the potential
health impact of second hand smoke exposure on children. Health problems associated with second hand smoke include:
|Higher death rates from cardiovascular disease in non-smokers|
|Acute symptoms from the irritant effect, particularly eye irritation, among allergic
|Irritation of the eye, nose and throat|
|Dizziness or nausea in nonsmokers|
|150,000-300,000 lower respiratory infections in children|
|200,000-1,000,000 asthma attacks in children|
|8,000-26,000 new cases of asthma in children|
|Respiratory symptoms of irritation in children|
|Significantly reduced lung function in children
|Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1993, 1997; Canadian Health Network|
|While the major focus on the effects of tobacco has been on the health impact, environmental tobacco smoke also has been associated with a number of economic impacts on businesses. While some are direct, there are a number of impacts that are indirect. Poor employee morale, for example, can cause decreases in productivity. Economic impacts include:|
|Absenteeism at greater rates than non or ex-smoking employees|
|Higher health insurance and life insurance costs and claims|
|Workers compensation payments|
|Accidents and fires|
|Smoke pollution resulting in increased cleaning and maintenance costs|
|Illness and discomfort in non-smokers exposed to passive smoke|
|Recruitment and retraining costs for replacement employees|
|Employee morale problems|
|Corporate image problems- 85 % of Utahns do not smoke
|Source: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office on Smoking and Health, 1996; BRFSS, 1999.
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