(RxWiki News) Being exposed to secondhand smoke is a known health hazard. Many people lay down no-smoking rules in their homes and cars, but too many people still have not adopted this personal policy.
In a recent study, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed adults in all 50 states about whether or not smoking was allowed in their homes or cars.
The researchers found that several million people still allow smoking in their homes and cars, even if the residents and drivers are not smokers themselves.
"Don’t allow smoking in your home or vehicle."
The CDC researchers, led by Brian A. King, PhD, MPH, investigated trends in voluntary no-smoking rules in US cars and homes.
According to the researchers, secondhand smoke exposure is responsible for an estimated 3,400 lung cancer-related deaths and 46,000 heart disease-related deaths in non-smoking US adults every year.
While many public places have banned smoking in the US, secondhand smoke exposure still happens in homes and cars.
The researchers used information from the 2009-2010 National Adult Tobacco Survey for this study. To compile the survey data, adults aged 18 and older, living in all 50 states, were interviewed over the phone about whether or not they allowed smoking in their homes and cars. Both smokers and non-smokers were surveyed.
Overall, the researchers found that 81 percent of homes had self-imposed no-smoking policies. Among non-smokers, 89 percent imposed no-smoking rules, while 48 percent of smokers imposed no-smoking rules.
Slightly fewer (74 percent) of the participants reported they did not allow smoking in their cars either.
Only 6 percent of participants said they were exposed to secondhand smoke in the home and 9 percent said they were exposed to secondhand smoke in the car.
Among adults aged 25 to 44 and people 65 years of age and older, 83 percent of responders said they did not allow smoking in their homes or cars.
The researchers found that secondhand smoke exposure among non-smokers was highest among men, younger adults, non-Hispanic black people and those with less education.
Based on state-by-state responders, the lowest levels of no-smoking rules were found in Kentucky, at 68 percent, and the highest were found in Utah, at 93 percent.
“Most US adults report having voluntary smoke-free home and vehicle rules; however, millions of people remain exposed to secondhand smoke in these environments,” the study authors wrote.
The researchers estimated that roughly 10.9 million people were exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and 16.7 million people in their cars.
The study authors recommended increased efforts to inform people about the dangers of secondhand smoke to promote voluntary smoke-free rules in homes and cars.
This study was published in May in Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice, and Policy.