Developments in the research base on reducing exposure to second-hand smoke

Olivia Wynne, Billie Bonevski

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

1 Citation (Scopus)
31 Downloads (Pure)


There is no safe level of second-hand smoke (SHS; or passive smoke and environmental tobaccosmoke) from tobacco, and it poses a serious risk to those exposed to it. The health risks of SHS are well-described and substantial [1], with children at particular risk. SHS affects not only smokers,but non-smokers as well. SHS as a known human carcinogen [3]; in addition to cancer, exposure to SHS has been associated with respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and major bacterial infections. Children exposed to SHS are more likely to suffer asthma, decreased lung function, and middle ear disease [5]. Like childhood, the in utero period is especially sensitive to the detrimental effects of tobacco exposure. In addition to later life effects, smoking while pregnant can lead to poor birth outcomes, such as preterm delivery. Globally, 40% of children, 35% of female non-smokers, and 33% of male non-smokers are exposed to SHS, resulting in over 600,000 deaths related to diseases caused by SHS exposure, such as ischaemic heart disease, asthma, and lung cancer. SHS contributes to 1% of worldwide mortality, with the majority of the deaths in women (47%) and children (28%). Indeed, being female is a major risk factor for SHS exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1873
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • second-hand smoke
  • Passive smoking
  • health risk reduction
  • tobacco control


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