Secondhand Smoke Prevention

Source: anyka - 123RF

With the recent announcement by CVS Caremark that the group will stop selling cigarettes at its more than 7,600 retail outlets, the media is focusing on the effects of tobacco products on the public.

Tobacco use is responsible for more than 430,000 deaths each year and is the largest cause of preventable morbidity and mortality in the United States.

According to 2011 statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), an estimated 43.8 million people, or 19% of all adults, smoke cigarettes. The agency noted a “slight overall decline” between 2005 and 2011. It said more than 293 billion cigarettes were purchased nationwide that year.

The medical community and anti-smoking advocates have successfully lobbied for laws in a number of cities, including San Francisco and Boston, banning tobacco sales by pharmacies.

In Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, the CDC recommends statewide programs that combine and coordinate community-based interventions that focus on the following areas:

  1. Preventing initiation of tobacco use among youth and young adults;
  2. Promoting quitting among adults and youth;
  3. Eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke; and
  4. Identifying and eliminating tobacco-related disparities among population groups.

Exposure to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and can cause coronary heart disease.

Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 46,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the United States among nonsmokers.

Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25–30%.

While some smokers successfully quit by going cold turkey, most people do better with a plan to keep themselves on track. A good plan addresses both the short–term challenge of quitting smoking and the long–term challenge of preventing relapse. It should also be tailored to your specific needs and smoking habits.