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Exposure to Secondhand Smoke at Home

 All of the recent national studies, including the United States Surgeon General Reports in 2006 and 2010 on the topic of secondhand smoke reveal that the home is now the predominant location for secondhand smoke exposure. 

Mainers spend a lot of time indoors, especially during the winter months. According to the results of Maine’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for 2009, 89.2% of current smokers and 93.5% of former/never smokers spend over 8 hours a day in their home…and about an equal number (45%) of both groups average 9-12 hours in their home.

As noted in the Foreword to Children and Secondhand Smoke Exposure: Excerpts from The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, “Children are more heavily exposed to secondhand smoke than adults. Almost 60% of U.S. children aged 3-11 years, or almost 22 million children, are exposed to secondhand smoke.” Children whose parents smoke and who grow up in homes where smoking is allowed are also more likely to become smokers themselves.

More than half (54.8%) of current smokers in Maine, according to the 2009 Maine BRFSS, do not allow anyone to smoke anywhere in their home; among former or never smokers, 88.6% do not allow anyone to smoke anywhere in their home and only 4.5% of never or former smokers permit smoking anywhere in their home. It is concerning that almost a fourth (22.8%) of current smokers still do permit smoking anywhere in their home. 

When a family makes a rule or a pledge to keep their whole home smoke- free at all times, all members of the family are protected and children growing up in the family home are less likely to become tobacco users themselves.

To learn more about the advantages of smoke free homes visit the Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine. Take the Smoke-Free Homes Pledge

View the latest media campaign aimed at educating Maine people about the harmful effects of secondhand smoke – Wherever You Live and Breathe, Go Smoke-Free (look about 1/3 of the way down the page.)

Learn More

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: The latest news, facts, and industry reports that are helping to change public attitudes and public policies on tobacco.

Smoking & Tobacco Use: The CDC provides facts and current data about the health effects of secondhand smoke.

Secondhand Smoke Resources: Find information on secondhand smoke exposure, health effects, and smoke-free initiatives and resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Secondhand Smoke: What It Means To You…Booklet: This booklet explains, in an easy-to-read format, what scientists have learned about the dangers of secondhand smoke. [Note: please be patient - lengthy download]

The Maine Tobacco-Free College Network helps to support a tobacco-free lifestyle for the benefit of students, faculty, staff, and visitors at college campuses around the state in an effort to counter the high rates of tobacco use among college students.

The Maine Tobacco-Free Hospital Network aims to create and award Gold Star Standards of Excellence to encourage more hospitals to adopt smoke-free policies, as well as provide ongoing technical assistance to the hospitals around the state.

The Smoke-Free Housing Coalition of Maine helps landlords make informed decisions about establishing smoke-free policies for their properties, and helps them understand their rights, responsibilities and risks as a property owner. It also helps renters understand their rights to live smoke-free.

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