CDC Says 58 Million Non-smokers in U.S. Exposed to Secondhand Smoke

The number includes two of every five children aged three to 11 years, according to the agency.

One in four non-smokers is still exposed to secondhand smoke, according to a new Vital Signs report from the CDC. That equates to 58 million people in the United States.

Data show that declines in exposure to secondhand smoke have been slower and exposure remains higher among children, African-Americans, those who live in poverty, and those who live in rental housing. The report found that two in every five children aged three to 11 years are still exposed to secondhand smoke.

"Secondhand smoke can kill. Too many Americans, and especially too many American children, are still exposed to it," said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., MPH. "That 40 percent of children -- including seven in 10 black children -- are still exposed shows how much more we have to do to protect everyone from this preventable health hazard."

Some of the other key findings were: Nearly half of black non-smokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, more than two in five non-smokers who live below the poverty level are exposed to secondhand smoke, and more than one in three non-smokers who live in rental housing are exposed to secondhand smoke.

"About 80 million Americans live in multi-unit housing, where secondhand smoke can seep into smoke-free units, and shared areas from units where smoking occurs," said Brian King, Ph.D., acting deputy director for research translation in CDC's Office on Smoking and Health. "The potential of exposure in subsidized housing is especially concerning because many of the residents -- including children, the elderly, and people with disabilities -- are particularly sensitive to the effects of secondhand smoke."

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