News & Events

There is No Safe Level of Exposure to Secondhand Smoke, says New Surgeon Generals Report

January 20, 2011

Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke causes immediate damage to the body that can lead to serious illness or death, according to the 2010 report released recently by U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin.

The 2010 Surgeon General’s Report, entitled How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease, confirms findings from the 2006 report that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

“According to this new report, when inhaling secondhand cigarette smoke, individuals breathe in more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are hazardous and known to cause cancer,” said State Health Officer Dr. Mary Currier. “Exposure to secondhand smoke increases blood clotting and an individual’s risk of heart attack.”

Every exposure to the cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke could damage DNA in a way that leads to cancer. The 2010 report describes how chemicals from tobacco smoke quickly damage blood vessels and can trigger asthma attacks, stroke and other health issues.

“Everyone deserves to breathe smokefree air,” said Dr. Currier. “This report makes it clear: there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoking should be eliminated in all public places, including workplaces. It’s simply good public health policy.”

Support the Smokefree Air Mississippi Initiative by visiting and signing the petition. For a full copy of the 2010 Surgeon General’s Report, visit