What Is Secondhand Smoke?
In January 2006, the California Air Resources Board added secondhand tobacco smoke to its list of
“toxic air contaminants.” The Board based its decision on scientific studies that link secondhand smoke
to heart disease, asthma, other respiratory diseases, and cancer among nonsmokers.
Secondhand smoke is also known as environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), passive smoke, or
involuntary smoke. It is released into the air when tobacco products burn or when smokers exhale.
Cigarettes, cigars, and pipes all can produce toxic secondhand smoke. This information summarizes
some of the findings from a recent comprehensive review of hundreds of studies of secondhand smoke
by the California EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).