State-Specific Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults --- United States, 2008

November 13, 2009 - Secondhand smoke (SHS, passive, environmental tobacco smoke, ETS, sidestream, involuntary) causes immediate and long-term adverse health effects in nonsmoking adults and children, including heart disease and lung cancer, and SHS exposure occurs primarily in homes and workplaces.

The CDC analyzed 2008 *Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data from 11 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Exposure to secondhand smoke in homes ranged from 3.2 percent in Arizona to 10.6 percent in West Virginia, researchers found. At work, exposure ranged from 6 percent in Tennessee to 17.3 percent in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In West Virginia, 68.8 percent of the people said they do not allow smoking in their home, as did 85.7 percent of those living in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"Still, half the people in this country are not protected by comprehensive smoke-free laws," Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted.

The CDC maintains that passing more smoke-free laws and encouraging people not to smoke at home could go a long way toward reducing the danger to nonsmokers from secondhand smoke.

On the plus side, Frieden noted that in 2009, the federal tobacco tax was raised and some states are also raising their tobacco tax. "We know that those increases make a big difference," he said.

In addition, more places are becoming smoke-free, he said. "Going smoke-free not only protects the health of nonsmokers but also encourages smokers to quit," Freiden

*BRFSS conducts state-based, random-digit--dialed telephone surveys of the noninstitutionalized U.S. population aged ≥18 years to collect data on health conditions and health risk behaviors. The 2008 BRFSS included data from 414,509 respondents, which were used to assess current smoking prevalence. The questions to assess SHS exposure and home smoking rules were offered to states as an optional module and were used by 11 states and USVI, which combined represented approximately 19% of the U.S. adult population in 2008.

Reference: State-Specific Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults --- United States, 2008, CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, November 13, 2009 / 58(44);1232-1235