Surgeon General’s Report on Secondhand Smoke Surgeon General’s Report on Secondhand Smoke
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The theme for this year’s observance of World No Tobacco Day—100% smoke-free environments—highlights the progress achieved in the United States and around the world in protecting nonsmokers from the serious health risks posed by secondhand smoke.

Since the June 2006 release of the Surgeon General’s Report on The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, seven states and many US communities have enacted comprehensive policies making indoor workplaces and public places smoke-free. Notwithstanding recent progress in reducing secondhand smoke exposure, continued expansion of smoke-free environments is clearly needed to protect nonsmokers from this widespread and preventable health hazard.

2006 Surgeon General’s Report Findings

Almost a year ago, on June 27, 2006, the Surgeon General’s Report on The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke was released. The report concluded that secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults. In addition, the report said no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke exists and that only eliminating smoking in indoor spaces can fully protect nonsmokers. The report said other approaches, including separating smokers from nonsmokers and ventilating buildings, have not been effective.

Report Contributed to an Increase in Smoke-free Policies
The 2006 report has contributed to the enactment of smoke-free laws in numerous states and local jurisdictions. In part because of the report’s findings, state restaurant associations and state and local chambers of commerce are increasingly supporting such laws. The report also has contributed to adoption of voluntary smoke-free policies by employers and businesses, including major hotel chains. Leaders repeatedly cite the Report’s findings when announcing measures intended to reduce secondhand smoke exposure. Clearly, the Report presents a compelling case study of science being translated into action to improve the public’s health.

Report Reminds Us That More Needs to be Done
As dramatic as this progress is, however, the Report reminds us that—

• More than 126 million children and nonsmoking adults in the United States continue to be exposed to secondhand smoke

• Disparities in exposure exist by age, socioeconomic status, occupation, and racial/ethnic group

• Continued efforts are needed to ensure that all Americans are protected from this preventable health hazard