There is More Secondhand Smoke Around You Than You Think

July 6, 2021

By now, everyone knows that secondhand smoke from cigarettes is bad for you and responsible for the deaths of about 4,000 Californians each year.1 But what Californians also need to know is that they are likely surrounded by more secondhand smoke than they think. This may come as surprise to many, but it’s due to two new sources. First is the growth of e-cigarettes and vaping devices in recent years. Mounting research shows these devices, which heat e-liquid, to be harmful as well, especially for youth and young adults. What’s more, they may be risky to people around them – the US Surgeon General has concluded that secondhand emissions from e-cigarettes is NOT harmless water vapor, but instead is an aerosol that contains a mixture of dangerous chemicals, including heavy metals.2 Second, marijuana use has become increasingly common since being legalized in November 2016, exposing more Californians to marijuana secondhand smoke in public and private places.

In fact, secondhand smoke from marijuana has significantly higher amounts of some toxic chemicals such as tar, and ammonia, and more than twice the amount of hydrogen cyanide, an extremely poisonous chemical.

What’s important to remember is that ALL secondhand smoke should be avoided, no matter where it comes from. If you think you and your family are being exposed to secondhand smoke at home, you can find support by viewing our make your home smokefree article. To find out what your city is doing to protect your community from toxic secondhand smoke visit and enter your city’s name

References renameme

  1. California Environmental Protection Agency. Health Effects of Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Final Report. Sacramento, CA: California Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment; 2005.
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health 2016.
  3. Moir D, Rickert WS, Levasseur G, et al. Comparison of Mainstream and Sidestream Marijuana and Tobacco Cigarette Smoke Produced under Two Machine Smoking Conditions. Chem Res Toxicol. 2008;21(2):494-502.