Environmental Cigarette Smoke – people who do not smoke but who live or work among people who smoke in their presence are at risk for the same health conditions that affect smokers, including LUNG CANCER, CHRONIC OBSTRUCTIVE PULMONARY DISEASE (COPD), EMPHYSEMA, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE (CVD), and chronic BRONCHITIS. Children who regularly breathe cigarette smoke from smokers in the home, also called secondhand smoke or passive smoking, have a much higher rate of chronic OTITIS media (middle EAR INFECTION), ASTHMA, allergies, and chronic bronchitis. Most schools, workplaces, government offices, and indoor public facilities ban cigarette smoking as a means to reduce exposure to environmental cigarette smoke. Some municipalities in the United States have banned all indoor smoking in locations open to the public.
One measure of cigarette smoke exposure is the blood cotinine level. The body produces cotinine when it breaks down (metabolizes) NICOTINE, the active chemical ingredient of TOBACCO. Researchers believe that while cotinine itself presents no health risk, it provides an accurate measure of exposure to other chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic (cancer-causing), that are present in cigarette smoke. Cotinine is among the chemical federal agencies monitor to assess the health risks of ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARD EXPOSURE.
See also ANTISMOKING EFFORTS; INDOOR AIR QUALITY; LIFESTYLE AND HEALTH; RADON EXPOSURE; SMOKING AND CANCER; SMOKING AND CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE; SMOKING AND HEALTH.