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A national Healthy Homes Month reminder: Secondhand smoke kills

June marks National Healthy Homes Month, a good opportunity to focus on the dangers of secondhand smoke on children, nonsmoking adults and pets.

As the CDC noted in a release acknowledging National Healthy Homes Month, “one way to ensure the health and safety of those in your household is to not smoke tobacco products or allow others to smoke these products inside.”

Even as cigarette use in the U.S. drops, the numbers of people exposed to secondhand smoke are staggering. CDC estimates that 58 million nonsmokers are exposed to secondhand smoke, and that secondhand smoke kills more than 400 infants and 41,000 nonsmoking adults every year.

It’s not just humans who suffer from secondhand smoke. Pets are more than twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes. An estimated 20 percent of pet owners are smokers.

Due in part to the dangers of secondhand smoke, Truth Initiative joined with The Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco in applauding a move by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to implement smoke-free policies in public housing while urging HUD to prioritize education and help with quitting over eviction when enforcing a ban. The policy would cover an estimated 3,100 public housing agencies. The Washington Post has estimated that “more than 228,000 of the nation’s public housing units are already smoke-free.”

HUD is currently reviewing comments on the rule, initially proposed in November 2015.