Last Updated: January 2023
By the Division of Maternal and Child Health
Exposure to secondhand smoke in children is decreasing over time—that is, fewer children are reportedly exposed to secondhand smoke. This may reflect downward trends in smoking, or that more adults are smoking outside or in locations where children are not present.
This is reflective of a national pattern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to secondhand smoke has steadily decreased in the United States over time. However, there remains some key vulnerable youth populations
Young children are most affected by secondhand smoke and least able to avoid it. Most of their exposure to secondhand smoke comes from adults (parents or others) smoking at home. Studies show that children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to experience:
There is no risk-free level of secondhand smoke exposure; even brief exposure can be harmful to health.
Secondhand smoke exposure directly impacts healthcare costs: doctor and emergency department visits, hospital stays, medicines, as well as lost school time, and lost time at work for parents.
Sources: American Cancer Society: http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/tobacco-and-cancer/secondhand-smoke.html and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/general_facts/index.htm
Similar to statewide efforts, local partners are using data to drive local strategy. For regional data on Maternal and Infant Health indicators, check out our Public Health Data Explorer.
(i) Vermont’s relatively small sample sizes are often associated with suppressed data or wide confidence intervals, hindering interpretation in subgroup analyses. (ii) In 2011-2012, the NSCH changed from a landline-only sample to a dual-frame sample including landlines and cell phones. Therefore, estimates may not be comparable over time; in 2016 the survey methodology/ instrument changed; therefore, data from the 2016 National Survey of Children's Health, CANNOT be compared to prior year surveys do to a change in survey methodology.