Tobacco-Free Campus Factoids

Tobacco-Free Campus Factoids

Tobacco-Free Campus Initiative


Scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

  • Tobacco smoke hurts anyone who breathes it. When you breathe secondhand smoke, platelets in your blood get sticky and may form clots, just like in a person who smokes.
  • Separating smokers from non-smokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate secondhand smoke exposure.
  • Smoking around others increases their risk for heart attack and death. By not smoking, you help protect your family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Nonsmokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25-30%, and their risk of developing lung cancer by 20-30%.
  • A public smoking ban drastically cut heart attacks. Pueblo, Colorado banned smoking in work places and all public areas in July 2003. The number of people hospitalized for heart attack dropped 41% in three years.
  • In the United States alone, each year secondhand smoke is responsible for:
    • An estimated 46,000 deaths from heart disease in non-smokers who live with smokers
    • About 3,400 lung cancer deaths in non-smoking adults
    • 50,000 to 300,000 lung infections (such as pneumonia and bronchitis) in children younger than 18 months of age, which result in 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations annually
    • Pregnant women exposed to secondhand smoke are also at increased risk of having low birth- weight babies
  • The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), also recommends that secondhand smoke be considered a possible carcinogen in the workplace. Because there are no known safe levels, they recommend that exposures to secondhand smoke be reduced to the lowest possible levels.
  • A 2009 report by the Institute of Medicine confirmed that secondhand smoke is a cause of heart attacks, and concluded that relatively brief exposure could trigger a heart attack.
  • Cigarettes are the most littered item in America and the world.
  • Cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate tow fibers, and they can take decades to degrade.
  • The toxic residue in cigarette filters is damaging to the environment, and littered butts cause numerous fires every year, some of them fatal.


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