Nearly three out of four U.S. households do not allow smoking anywhere and any time in the home, according to a study in this week?s issue of CDC?s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
This study, which uses data from the Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS), finds that the proportion of U.S. households with smoke-free home rules increased from 43 percent in 1992-1993 to 72 percent in 2003.
The proportion of households with smoke-free home rules also increased in every state over this period. This proportion varied widely among the states. Kentucky had the lowest and Utah had the highest proportion of households reporting smoke-free home rules for both reported periods. The proportion of smoke-free homes increased from 25.7 percent to 53.4 percent in Kentucky and from 69.6 percent to 88.8 percent in Utah.
?In the past decade, we?ve seen tremendous declines in secondhand smoke exposure in the workplace and public places. However, millions of children and nonsmoking adults remain at risk because their homes are not smoke-free,? said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. ?The single best step that smokers can take to protect the health of nonsmoking family members and their own health is to quit smoking. Safe and proven quit methods are available, including state telephone quitlines, which are now in place in every state and can be accessed by dialing 1-800-QUIT-NOW.?
A second MWMR article analyzed data on students aged 13-15 in 137 countries and territories drawn from a school-based survey called the Global Youth Tobacco Survey. Almost half of the students surveyed who have never smoked reported being exposed to secondhand smoke at home (47 percent) or in places other than the home (48 percent). The analysis also found that students who were exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to begin smoking.
?The increase in smoke-free home rules in the U.S. is another indication of the progress in raising public awareness and protecting nonsmokers from secondhand smoke,? said Dr. Matt McKenna, Director of CDC?s Office on Smoking and Health. ?However, too many youth in the United States continue to be exposed, and children around the world are being exposed in huge numbers. These data remind us that further work remains to be done.?
On May 31, many countries will observe World No Tobacco Day ? an annual event sponsored by the World Health Organization to help raise public awareness of the dangers of tobacco use. This year?s theme is smoke-free environments. CDC will join its global tobacco control partners in providing the public and government leaders with information on the health consequences of secondhand smoke exposure and highlighting the progress made in protecting nonsmokers.
Last June, the Surgeon General?s Report on the Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke concluded secondhand smoke causes premature death and disease in children and nonsmoking adults, and that there is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure. According to the Surgeon General?s report, nearly 60 percent of U.S. children aged 3-11 years?or almost 22 million children?are exposed to secondhand smoke. The Surgeon General?s report also notes that eliminating smoking in indoor spaces is the only means of fully protecting nonsmokers from secondhand smoke exposure. Since the release of the report, seven states have enacted comprehensive smoke-free laws, as have many local jurisdictions across the country.