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Aug 3

Protecting Kids From Breathing Toxic Chemicals

Secondhand smoke is a combination of the smoke in the air from a burning cigarette, cigar, or pipe and the smoke exhaled by a person who is smoking. Smoke-filled rooms have up to six times the air pollution of a busy highway. Secondhand smoke has been designated as a human cancer-causing agent by the U.S. EPA, the National Toxicology Program, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It’s the number one source of indoor air pollution, and it poses a health threat to Iowans.

Some parents don’t fully understand how harmful secondhand smoke is for their kids, but most of them do understand that it is dangerous. That’s why most parents—including parents who smoke—try to protect their kids from secondhand smoke. Unfortunately, sometimes common myths about secondhand smoke lead some parents to think they’re protecting their kids when they’re really not.

According to the Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Cancer Society, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other sources:

• Secondhand smoke contains at least 7,000 toxic chemicals, including over 70 that can cause cancer.

• Tobacco has been classified as a “Class A” carcinogen (cancer causing). Only 13 other substances, including asbestos, are considered as dangerous to human health.

Windows can’t be opened wide enough. Fans can’t be turned up high enough. Walls between rooms can’t be built thick enough. Only stepping outside or asking others to step outside is enough to protect your kids from secondhand smoke.

Protecting your kids from secondhand smoke takes only One Step: Ask everyone to always step outside the home and the car before smoking.