Even if you don’t smoke, you smoke if you’re around smokers. You’re breathing in the same toxic stew of harmful chemicals as the smokers around you. Tobacco smoke contains thousands of dangerous elements and chemical compounds, including formaldehyde, arsenic, cadmium, benzene, polonium, ammonia, carbon monoxide, methanol and hydrogen cyanide.

Secondhand smoke has been proven to cause numerous health problems ranging from heart disease to emphysema, stroke, SIDS and cancer. Children are particularly susceptible to the health risks of secondhand smoke. In a 2006 report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, the Surgeon General concluded that “secondhand smoke is similar to the mainstream smoke inhaled by the smoker in that it is a complex mixture containing many chemicals (including formaldehyde, cyanide, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and nicotine), many of which are known carcinogens. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes excess deaths in the U.S. population from lung cancer and cardiac related illnesses.”

There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Therefore, policies that seek to find a "compromise" such as separately ventilated areas only continue to expose people to these dangerous toxins. However, implementing comprehensive smoke-free policies is effective at eliminating tobacco-related air pollution and saving lives:

North Dakota Voted to Become Smoke-Free
On November 6, 2012, every county in the state voted in favor of becoming smoke-free. The law advances public health by protecting more workers, residents and visitors from secondhand smoke exposure in public places and places of employment. Learn more about North Dakota’s smoke free law.

Smoke-free Laws are Delivering Results

Fargo's smoke-free law reduced air pollution in bars by 98%.

Bismarck's smoke-free law reduced air pollution in bars by 96%.

Incidence of heart attacks in Grand Forks dropped by 24.1 percent within four months of the city's comprehensive smoke-free law.

Numerous studies across the country and around the world have shown that tobacco prevention programs and smoke-free laws keep hearts healthier.