The United States Surgeon General’s 2006 Report on the Health Consequences of Involuntary Smoking reports the following:
Smoking is the single greatest preventable cause of disease and death.
Secondhand smoke contains hundreds of chemicals known to be toxic or carcinogenic (cancer causing), including formaldehyde, benzene, vinyl chloride, arsenic, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide.
Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
Concentrations of many cancer-causing and toxic chemicals are higher in secondhand smoke than in the smoke inhaled by smokers.
Breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time can have immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and interferes with the normal functioning of the heart, blood, and vascular systems in ways that increase the risk of a heart attack.
The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Short exposures to secondhand smoke can cause blood platelets to become stickier, damage the lining of blood vessels, decrease coronary flow velocity reserves, and reduce heart rate variability, potentially increasing the risk of a heart attack.
Secondhand smoke contains many chemicals that can quickly irritate and damage the lining of the airways. Even brief exposure can result in upper airway changes in healthy persons and can lead to increased and more frequent asthma attacks in children who already have asthma.
Secondhand smoke is a cause of disease, including lung cancer, in healthy nonsmokers.
The children of parents who smoke compared with the children of nonsmoking parents have an increased frequency of respiratory infections, increased respiratory symptoms, and slightly smaller rates of increase in lung function as the lung matures.
Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposure of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.
The California Air Resources Board issued a report in January 2006 that identified secondhand smoke as a toxic air contaminant with no safe level of exposure. Secondhand smoke has joined benzene, arsenic, and diesel exhaust on the Toxic Air Contaminant list. According to the report:
Each year in California, secondhand smoke is linked to: (A) 400 additional lung cancer deaths a year in nonsmokers; (B) 3,600 deadly heart attacks; and, (C) 31,000 asthma attacks in children.
Health effects causally associated with exposure to secondhand smoke include (A) breast cancer in younger, primarily premenopausal women; (B) asthma induction and exacerbation in children and adults; (C) pre-term delivery; and (D) altered vascular properties associated with risk for heart attack.
Concentrations of secondhand smoke in some outdoor locations can reach levels as high as indoor locations, depending on the number of cigarettes being smoked and wind conditions.
According to the 2002-2004 California Student Tobacco Survey, 49 percent of youths reported being exposed to secondhand smoke from someone smoking in the same room during the previous seven days. According to the 2002 California Tobacco Survey, 11.9 percent of non-smoking Californian indoor workers reported having been exposed to secondhand smoke at work within the past two weeks, with 64.7 percent exposed on a daily basis.
In 2005, 13.9 percent of San Francisco adults were smokers, including 7.5 percent who were daily smokers and 6.4 percent who were occasional smokers. “Occasional smokers” are smokers who do not smoke on a daily basis.
The 2003 Final Report on Tobacco Control Successes prepared by the Cancer Prevention and Control Program at the University of California, San Diego, for the California Department of Health Services found:
15.6 percent of Latinos, 11.3 percent of Asians, 9.5 percent of African Americans, and 10.4 percent of Whites were exposed to secondhand smoke in indoor workplaces within two weeks of answering the survey.
In the home setting, African American children and adolescents were found to have the highest rate of exposure (14.3 percent) to secondhand smoke compared to 5.7 percent of Asians/Pacific Islanders, 8.5 percent of Latinos and 10.9 percent of Whites.
Residents living in multi-unit housing complexes can be exposed to secondhand smoke that seeps from neighboring units through doorways, electrical sockets, cracks in the sealing, shared ventilation systems, holes in wall plates and subfloor assemblies for electrical wiring, plumbing, and ductwork.
The Board of Supervisors finds and declares:
Nonsmokers have no adequate means to protect themselves from the damage inflicted upon them by secondhand smoke.
Regulation of smoking in public places is necessary to protect the health, safety, welfare, comfort, and environment of nonsmokers.
It is, therefore, the intent of the Board of Supervisors, in enacting this Article, to protect nonsmokers from secondhand smoke and to eliminate smoking, as much as possible, in public places, and certain residential settings.
(Added by Ord. 249-94, App. 7/7/94; Ord. 58-10, File No. 091443, App. 3/25/2010)