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Tobacco Smoke at Home Linked To Higher Mortality Across Diverse Group of Nonsmokers

, by Elise Tookmanian, Ph.D.

Infographic reads: Second hand smoke at home increases risk of death for nonsmokers regardless of: race, ethnicity, income, education.

Higher mortality risk among nonsmokers exposed daily to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) at home was independent of race and ethnicity, education, and household income, according to a study published in Preventive Medicine on September 24, 2022.

In order to analyze mortality risk across a diverse group of nonsmokers, Daniela S. Gutiérrez-Torres, Sc.D., M.S., postdoctoral fellow in the Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, and colleagues studied a nationally representative cohort of the U.S. population of 110,000 nonsmokers using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) linked with the National Death Index. The researchers adjusted their results for sex, race/ethnicity, education, household income, body mass index, region of residence, and survey year. Overall, nonsmokers who were exposed daily to ETS at home, had a 33 percent increase in risk of death from any cause compared with those who were not exposed. Increases were observed regardless of education level or household income. Mortality risk was also similar across race and ethnicity, although Hispanic adults had a slightly greater mortality risk compared to non-Hispanic White and non-Hispanic Black adults.

These findings provide additional evidence for public health efforts to eliminate exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at home.


Gutiérrez-Torres, DS, et al. Association of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke at home and risk of mortality among US never smokers by race/ethnicity, education, and income. Prev Med. 2022. 

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