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Children exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke are at an increased risk morbidity and mortality.



Almost half of the world’s children are exposed to tobacco smoke, the majority of them in the home. This includes almost 54% of U.S. children aged 3–11 years – or almost 19 million children in the US alone. Children exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS; crib death or cot death), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.



CDC. Vital Signs: Nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke – United States, 1999-2008. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010; 59: 1141-1146.

California Environmental Protection Agency. Proposed Identification of Environmental Tobacco Smoke as a Toxic Air Contaminant. Sacramento, CA: California Environmental Protection Agency, June 2005.

Environmental Protection Agency. Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders. Washington, DC: US Environmental Protection Agency, Office on Air and Radiation, 1992.

Shafey O, Eriksen M, Ross H, Mackay J. The Tobacco Atlas. American Cancer Society.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coordinating Center for Health Promotion, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2006.

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