Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) or second-hand smoke includes both smoke that is exhaled by a smoker and smoke that comes directly off the end of a cigarette as it burns. Environmental tobacco smoke contains numerous chemicals, many of which are poisons and known carcinogens. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies ETS as a Group A carcinogen, a rating reserved for substances proven to cause cancer in humans. In addition, ETS affects other health conditions such as asthma. In fact, ETS not only stimulates asthma attacks in people with asthma, but also may cause the development of asthma in nonasthmatics.

To reduce exposure to ETS:

  • Do not smoke in your home or permit others to do so.
  • Do not smoke if children are present, particularly infants and toddlers.
  • If smoking indoors cannot be avoided, ventilate the area by opening windows or using exhaust fans.
  • Do not smoke in the car. High concentrations of smoke in small, closed compartments increase ETS exposure.
  • Make sure schools and daycare facilities have smoking policies that protect children from exposure to ETS.
  • Encourage workplaces and businesses to implement smoking policies that protect nonsmokers from ETS exposure.

Other Indoor Air Quality Web Resources - Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Contact Information

  • Justin Otto - North Dakota Department of Health
  • Electronic mail address: jotto@nd.gov
  • Office phone: 701.328.5188

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Page last revised: January 22, 2015