12 ways to reduce your cancer risk

Second-hand smoke

icon-second-hand-smokeMake your home smoke free.
Support smoke-free policies in your workplace.

Exposure to second-hand smoke at work and at home is associated with avoidable illness, including cancer. An overview of the damaging effects to health caused by tobacco use and inhalation of second-hand smoke is shown in Figure 1.

The home can be a frequent place of exposure to second-hand smoke. Across Europe, there are differences in the adoption of smoking bans in homes, with the prevalence of smoke-free homes ranging from 31% to more than 90% across countries. Increased protection from second-hand smoke is desirable and achievable by smokers and non-smokers banning smoking inside their homes and inside their cars.

In countries in Europe where smoking in the workplace is still allowed, adoption of comprehensive smoke-free policies, as delineated in Article 8 of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), is the best option to ensure that all working citizens are equally and fully protected from second-hand smoke. The European Commission Council Recommendation of 30 November 2009 on smoke-free environments, based on the WHO-FCTC Article 8, asked Member States the implementation of smoke-free environments in indoor public and work places and in public transportation. The level of comprehensiveness and enforcement of those bans varies across countries.

Figure 1: Health consequences causally linked to tobacco use and inhalation of second-hand smoke.


Source: Adapted from The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014, with permission from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.