Research says the effects of secondhand smoke are worse than actually smoking. What makes secondhand smoke worse for people who do not smoke?
—Keith E. Miller, MD, Peoria, Ariz.
Despite reports to the contrary, secondhand smoke is not worse than active smoking. The toxicology of tobacco smoke is the same irrespective of the method of exposure. The factors of dose, concentration, duration, and host susceptibility all contribute to the adverse health effects observed in an individual. So-called secondhand smoke produces adverse health effects in individuals compared with those not exposed to any form of tobacco smoke. This finding forms part of the medical basis of legislation to limit unwanted potential exposures to tobacco smoke in public venues.
—R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM (111-10)