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Tobacco Active and Passive Smoking

5. What is passive smoking?

    The source document for this Digest states:

    Exposure data

    Involuntary (or passive) smoking is exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke, which is a mixture of exhaled mainstream smoke and sidestream smoke released from the smouldering cigarette or other smoking device (cigar, pipe, bidi, etc.) and diluted with ambient air. Involuntary smoking involves inhaling carcinogens, as well as other toxic components, that are present in secondhand tobacco smoke. Secondhand tobacco smoke is sometimes referred to as 'environmental' tobacco smoke. Carcinogens that occur in secondhand tobacco smoke include benzene, 1,3-butadiene, benzo[a]pyrene, 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone and many others. Secondhand tobacco smoke consists of a gas phase and a particulate phase; it changes during its dilution and distribution in the environment and upon ageing. The concentrations of respirable particles may be elevated substantially in enclosed spaces containing secondhand tobacco smoke. The composition of tobacco smoke inhaled involuntarily is variable quantitatively and depends on the smoking patterns of the smokers who are producing the smoke as well as the composition and design of the cigarettes or other smoking devices. The secondhand tobacco smoke produced by smoking cigarettes has been most intensively studied. Secondhand tobacco smoke contains nicotine as well as carcinogens and toxins. Nicotine concentrations in the air in homes of smokers and in workplaces where smoking is permitted typically range on average from 2 to 10 micrograms/m3.

    Source & ©: IARC "  Involuntary smoking , Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation"
    Volume 83 - Chapter 5.1: Exposure data, 2004


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