The Science is Clear: Only Comprehensive Smokefree Policies Protect Everyone from the Dangers of Secondhand Smoke | American Lung Association

This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

The Science is Clear: Only Comprehensive Smokefree Policies Protect Everyone from the Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

(January 14, 2016) - CHICAGO

For more information please contact:

Allison MacMunn
[email protected]

Statement of Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association:

“In 2006, the U.S. Surgeon General’s landmark report found that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. The Surgeon General concluded: ‘Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.’ The Surgeon General also concluded that ventilation does not work to protect people from secondhand smoke.   

“The reality is that ventilation and separate areas do not protect people from secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is known to cause lung cancer and heart disease, and even short-term exposure can trigger a heart attack. And children are more likely to have lung problems, ear infections and severe asthma from being around secondhand smoke. 

“The American Lung Association believes that all public places and workplaces, including restaurants, bars and casinos, must be completely smokefree to fully protect workers and patrons from the dangerous health effects of secondhand smoke. The American Lung Association opposes any national, state or local law or policy that allows smoking to continue in public places and workplaces, including provisions that allow for smoking in separately ventilated areas.”   

For media interested in speaking with an expert about secondhand smoke, tobacco use and lung health, contact the American Lung Association at [email protected] or 312-801-7628. 


About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit:

Red button with telephone
Ask An Expert

Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

Get help
Red button of two hand prints
We need your generous support

Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl

LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

Get involved
Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
Donate Now.