The reduction in the number of passive smokers remained stagnant from 2011 to 2014 in the United States. because of the "slow" adoption of restrictive measures and tobacco smoke hit 58 million people at that time, 38% of the children informed the health authorities.
A study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), based on data from 2013 and 2014, indicates that one out of four non-smokers was exposed in these two years to cigarette smoking and that this situation was strongly influenced proportion to children aged 3 to 11.
Smoke-free environments "are the best way to protect" passive smokers, said Corinne Graffunder, director of the CDC's Office of Smoking and Health, as the main lesson learned from the study published today.
The study finds that during the period 2011-2014 the percentage of passive smokers did not decrease significantly in most demographic subgroups, despite the fact that the reductions were achieved in the previous three decades.
The federal agency has attributed the stalemate to the "slow" local and state adoption of the ban on smoking in the workplace, in restaurants and bars during the period studied.
He said that currently 27 states and the District of Columbia have such bans, but their adoption "has slowed down in recent years".
However, he clarified that during 2015-2017, 199 jurisdictions have adopted laws and 21 have implemented them until last July, which could be reflected in future studies on passive smoking.
This is the case of the Department for housing and urban development that prohibits smoking in homes built with public funds since last July.
"These results reveal that there is still more to be done to protect everyone, especially children, from this preventable health risk," CDC director Robert R. Redfield said.
He regretted that "there is no safe level of exposure to passive smoking", which contains over 7000 chemicals, including about 70 which can cause cancer.
In 2013-2014, 48% of people considered poor and 39% of those who did not own their homes were exposed to smoking smoke, according to the study, which measured exposure from blood tests.
The federal agency noted that some disparities persist between those affected and that two out of three children in African Americans are exposed to secondhand smoke, in addition to more than three out of ten non-smokers with lower secondary education.
The smoking of cigarettes and other products used by smokers, he recalled, is the cause of the syndrome of sudden infant death, respiratory tract infections and the ear, as well as of asthma attacks in infants and children.
Likewise, it can cause heart disease, stroke and lung cancer in non-smoking adults.
Exposure to so-called "secondhand smoke" causes over 41,000 deaths from lung cancer and heart disease among non-smoking adults and 400 deaths due to sudden infant death syndrome, according to Surgeon General's 2014 data.