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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Secondhand Smoke

Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke (also referred to as environmental tobacco smoke, involuntary smoking, and passive smoking) is the smoke that results from the burning of tobacco products (be it a cigarette, cigar, or pipe), and also the smoke exhaled from a smoker. Secondhand smoke has been classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a known human carcinogen. It is the third cause of preventable death in the U.S.

Facts about Secondhand Smoke

  • There are over 50 carcinogens found in secondhand smoke.

  • Over 4,000 chemicals are found in secondhand smoke.

  • Every year, between 37,000 and 50,000 Americans die from secondhand smoke exposure.

  • Approximately 3,000 Americans die annually from lung cancer resulting from secondhand smoke exposure

Health Effects From Secondhand Smoke Exposure

There are a variety of health effects that are caused by exposure to SHS. Some of these include:

  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

  • Cancer (lung, breast, renal cell carcinoma, brain)

  • Ear, nose, and throat infections

  • Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

  • Premature birth

  • Lung infections

  • Risk of learning difficulties and developmental delays

  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke have in increased risk of developing asthma.

  • Bronchitis and pneumonia

Protecting Your Family and Yourself

The best feeling in the world is knowing you have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from unnecessary harm. Here are some ways you can protect against secondhand smoke exposure:

  • If you are a smoker, quit. The Florida Department of Health provides free cessation services through our Florida Quitline. Call 1-888-U-CAN-NOW (1-888-822-6669) or visit for more information.
  • If you are a smoker, but are not ready to fully commit to cessation, refrain from smoking inside your home and your car.

  • Request all guests, including babysitters, to refrain from using tobacco inside your home and car. Explain to them the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure.

  • Never smoke around children.

Office Location
Florida Department of Health in Palm Beach County
800 Clematis Street
West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Contact Person
Janiece Davis, MPH
Tobacco Prevention Specialist
(561) 671-4094

Quitline 1-877-U-CAN-NOW