Exposure to the tobacco smoke of other people. Environmental tobacco smoke consists mainly of sidestream smoke containing harmful ingredients, carcinogens, irritants, and toxic substances, and lesser amounts of exhaled smoke. The concentration of toxicants including known carcinogens is higher in sidestream than inhaled smoke because the burning tip of an idling cigarette has a lower temperature and therefore less complete combustion of tobacco and increased formation of many toxicants. Advocates of smoke-free workplaces, restaurants, public transport, etc., prefer the term “involuntary” to “passive” when describing this environmental health hazard because exposure is involuntary but not necessarily passively accepted; indeed, it is often resisted.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.