Smoking is not allowed at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) Kaka`ako campus to protect non-smokers from the negative effects of second-hand smoke and to support smokers who wish to reduce or stop smoking. JABSOM’s Kaka`ako complex, opened in 2005, was built with monies the Hawai`i State Legislature appropriated from the Master Settlement Agreement, a fund established to settle legal claims resulting from a lawsuit by the States against cigarette makers over the health consequences associated with smoking. Our MD graduates treat patients who suffer smoking-related disease, while our public health graduates work to educate the public about the dangers of smoking.
We hope that the following information from the Hawai`i State Department of Health WEBSITE helps visitors to the JABSOM community understand the problems associated with second-hand smoke and the need for everyone to assist in promoting and enforcing our desire to eliminate smoking on our campus.
What Is Secondhand Smoke (SHS)?
Secondhand smoke (SHS) is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers. This mixture contains more than 4,000 substances, more than 40 of which are known to cause cancer in humans or animals and many of which are strong irritants. Exposure to secondhand smoke is called involuntary smoking, or passive smoking.
How Does Secondhand Smoke Affect My Health?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified SHS as a Group A (human) carcinogen that is known to cause cancer. EPA estimates that SHS causes approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths in nonsmokers each year.
What About The Risk To Children?
Secondhand smoke is a serious health risk to children: EPA estimates that passive smoking is responsible for between 150,000 and 300,000 lower respiratory tract infections in infants and children under 18 months of age annually, resulting in between 7,500 and 15,000 hospitalizations each year.
Children exposed to secondhand smoke are also more likely to have reduced lung function and symptoms of respiratory irritation like cough, excess phlegm, and wheeze.
Passive smoking can lead to buildup of fluid in the middle ear, the most common cause of hospitalization of children for an operation. Asthmatic children are especially at risk: EPA estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke increases the number of episodes and severity of symptoms in hundreds of thousands of asthmatic children.
EPA estimates that between 200,000 and 1,000,000 asthmatic children have their condition made worse by exposure to secondhand smoke. Passive smoking may also cause thousands of non-asthmatic children to develop the condition each year.
What Can I Do To Reduce My Family’s Risk From SHS?
Choose not to smoke in your home and car. Do not allow family and visitors, who are especially vulnerable to the health risks, to be exposed to secondhand smoke. Do not allow childcare providers or others who work in your home to smoke. Until you can quit, choose to smoke outside.
For more information, check out the Secondhand Smoke in Your Car and Home Fact Sheet (Secondhand Smoke Fact Sheet) and the Secondhand Smoke and Heart Disease, Lung Cancer, and Other Health Risks Fact Sheet (Other Health Risks Fact Sheet).
Clean Indoor Air Regulation
Although population-based data show declining secondhand smoke (SHS) exposure in the workplace over time, SHS exposure remains a common public health hazard that is entirely preventable. Most state and local laws on clean indoor air reduce but do not eliminate nonsmokers’ exposure to SHS; smoking bans are the most effective method for reducing SHS exposure. Beyond eliminating SHS exposure among nonsmokers, smoking bans have additional benefits, including reduced smoking intensity and potential cost savings to employers. Optimal protection of nonsmokers and smokers requires a smoke-free environment.