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C-FERST Issue Profile: Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)

Environmental tobacco smoke (also called secondhand smoke) is the combination of smoke released by a burning tobacco product and the smoke exhaled by a smoker. People can be exposed to secondhand smoke in homes, cars, the workplace and public places, such as bars, restaurants and recreational settings. EPA has classified secondhand smoke as a human carcinogen.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 substances, several of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals.

EPA has concluded that exposure to secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer in adults who do not smoke, and estimates that secondhand smoke causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths per year in nonsmokers. Exposure to secondhand smoke has also been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Learn more about environmental tobacco smoke by exploring the links below.