The US Surgeon General has confirmed that no amount of exposure to secondhand smoke is safe, and e-cigarette aerosol has been found to have many of the same harmful properties as those found in secondhand smoke.
Reductions in the rate of exposure to secondhand smoke can be attributed to 1) Increases in the number of places covered by clean indoor air laws and voluntary smoke and vape free policies, 2) an overall reduction in the smoking rate among CT adults and youth, and 3) a greater awareness of the harms of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, including decreased smoking in homes and workplaces. These all lead to reductions in exposure to secondhand smoke and aerosol.
Data were obtained from both the Youth Tobacco Component (2002-2017) and the Youth Behavior Component (2019-2021) of the Connecticut School Health Survey. The survey is administered in odd-numbered years. These data are current as of February 2023. New data are expected by fall of 2023. The data are typically updated biennially (in odd-numbered years).
Starting in 2017, the question was changed to include exposure to tobacco smoke and vapor/aerosol from electronic vapor products. Therefore, direct comparisons to estimates from previous years should not be made.
Connecticut Department of Public Health; Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services;
Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs; State Department of Education; Connecticut Department of
Correction; State Legislature; local public health agencies; health care providers including nurses and primary care
physicians, community health centers, and hospitals; health professional associations; health insurers;
pharmaceutical companies; American Cancer Society; American Heart and Lung Associations; other organizations
and coalitions focused on tobacco control; community service providers; philanthropic and research organizations
that address tobacco control and tobacco related diseases; faith-based organizations; and others.
Passage of comprehensive clean indoor air laws that include building entryways; ensuring protection at all schools, workplaces, public parks and other public areas.
Many best practices are available that will help to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and aerosol, including the following:
1)Advocate for insurance coverage for smoking cessation and insurance incentives for nonsmokers; higher taxes on all tobacco products; greater Tobacco Trust Fund allocations for education, prevention, and cessation on tobacco use; and legislation to prohibit smoking in cars with children;
2) Include smoking, vaping, all tobacco use, and the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke and aerosol in the health education curriculum for all schools, K-12;
3) Educate parents about the dangers of secondhand smoke to children;
4) Encourage pediatricians and health care providers to discuss tobacco use cessation and prevention strategies with parents and teens;
5) Increase smoke-free environments on campuses, school grounds, recreational areas and state parks, etc.;
6)Provide education on the benefits of smoke free/tobacco free policies, and offer technical assistance for those adopting voluntary policies (e.g., multi-unit housing complexes, workplaces, and school, college and university campuses); and,
7)Initiate and support policy and systems changes that would reduce access to and availability of tobacco products.