56 Million Americans Have Been Unknowingly Exposed to Secondhand Smoke

Over half of American adults have unknowingly been uncovered to secondhand smoke, with analysis suggesting 56 million Americans are affected. The examine, led by Ruixuan Wang from the University of Florida, revealed that solely half of these with proof of publicity reported it. This analysis relied on information from a survey of over 13,000 U.S. adults between 2013 and 2020, utilizing blood cotinine ranges as an publicity metric. The causes for underreporting are unclear, however low-level publicity in public locations and stigma are potential elements.

Over half of U.S. adults have lately been uncovered to secondhand tobacco smoke, and most of them had been oblivious to it, new analysis reveals.

Nationwide, the brand new findings counsel that 56 million Americans are unknowingly and routinely uncovered to poisonous secondhand smoke.

“There is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure, and long-term exposure can increase the risk of many chronic conditions, such as coronary heart disease, respiratory disease, and cancers,” mentioned Ruixuan (Roxanne) Wang, a doctoral candidate within the College of Public Health and Health Professions on the University of Florida and the lead creator of the brand new examine.

“We want people to be aware of their exposure so they can take protective actions,” Wang mentioned.

Gaps in Awareness and Exposure

The UF Health researchers analyzed a nationally consultant survey of greater than 13,000 U.S. adults and detected the byproduct of nicotine within the blood of 51% of individuals. However, lower than half of the folks with proof of secondhand smoke publicity reported being uncovered to smoke, leaving a big and beforehand unreported hole in consciousness about secondhand smoke.

People of all demographics considerably underreported their publicity to smoke, however Black people had the best charges of each publicity and underreporting.

“We think this report will inform targeted interventions for at-risk groups,” Wang mentioned.

Data Source and Detection Method

Wang collaborated with Jennifer LeLaurin, Christopher Cogle, and others within the UF College of Medicine and College of Public Health and Health Professions to analyze the information, which got here from the U.S. National Health and Examination Survey performed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey coated the years 2013 to 2020.

The authors appeared for the presence of cotinine in respondents’ blood, which signifies publicity to nicotine in the previous couple of days and is the gold normal for figuring out publicity to tobacco merchandise.

It’s unclear why the extent of underreported publicity was so high. Cotinine measurements are very delicate and may detect low ranges of smoke publicity, however no degree is taken into account protected.

“It could be the case that for low-level exposure, maybe you don’t notice it. You’re in a public setting, and maybe you’re not even aware someone is using tobacco around you. Maybe it’s so minor you forgot,” mentioned LeLaurin, the senior creator of the examine and a professor of health outcomes and biomedical informatics at UF. “There’s also the possibility that some of the respondents were aware of some secondhand smoke exposure but chose not to report it due to the stigma.”

Reference: “Prevalence of Underreported Nicotine Exposure Among US Nonsmoking Adults: A Comparison of Self-Reported Exposure and Serum Cotinine Levels From NHANES 2013–2020” by Ruixuan Wang, Jaclyn M Hall, Ramzi G Salloum, Frederick Kates, Christopher R Cogle, Adriaan W Bruijnzeel, Young-Rock Hong and Jennifer H LeLaurin, 30 August 2023, Nicotine & Tobacco Research.
DOI: 10.1093/ntr/ntad165

The examine was supported by the Florida Health Policy Leadership Academy, led by Cogle, at UF’s Bob Graham Center for Public Service and partially funded by the Florida Department of Health. 

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