Secondhand Smoke Adds to Risk for Smokers
Study Shows Smokers Face Danger From Their Own Exhaled Tobacco Smoke
WebMD News Archive
Jan. 28, 2010 -- The dangers of secondhand smoke may not be
limited to nonsmokers.
A new study shows that smokers who inhale their own secondhand smoke in
enclosed spaces like smoking lounges add significantly
to the health risks associated with cigarette smoking.
The study shows that for a smoker who smokes 14 cigarettes a day, inhaling
his or her own secondhand smoke by smoking in an enclosed space results in
exposure to the equivalent of smoking another 2.6 cigarettes.
Researchers say the results contradict the prevailing assumption that the
additional dangers of inhaling secondhand smoke would be negligible in
comparison to the risks associated with directly inhaling cigarette smoke for
"Both active and passive smoking contributions should always be considered
in studies about health of active smokers," says researcher Maria Teresa
Piccardo of the National Cancer Research Institute in Genoa, Italy, in a news
The study, published in Environmental Health, analyzed the
contribution of secondhand smoke to total carcinogen (the cancer
causing-compounds in tobacco) exposure in 15 smokers who worked as newsagents
"Newsagents were chosen because they work alone in small newsstands, meaning
that any tobacco smoke in the air they breathe is strictly correlated to the
number of cigarettes smoked by that newsagent," says Piccardo.
The results showed that secondhand smoke accounted for between 15% and 23%
for regular cigarettes and 21%-34% for light cigarettes of a measure of
The average smoker in the study smoked 14 cigarettes per day; inhaling of
the smoker's own secondhand smoke added the carcinogen equivalent of smoking
another 2.6 regular cigarettes.
In addition, inhaling secondhand smoke from other smokers in the environment
added the equivalent of 1.3 regular cigarettes to daily carcinogen
Researchers say the findings suggest that the total carcinogen exposure from
smokers' own smoking habits as well as exposure to the dangers of secondhand
smoke in enclosed spaces like smoking lounges should be considered in
determining their health risk.