Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand Smoke is harmful to children, seniors, people with chronic diseases- everyone who is impacted by exposure to someone else’s tobacco smoke. Over the years, the picture has become much clearer on the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Many of us know non-smokers who lived with a smoker and were diagnosed with heart disease or lung disease despite never having picked up a cigarette. Research shows that of the estimated 480,000 preventable deaths caused by tobacco in the United States every year, 42,000 of those are non-smokers whose lives were shortened because of exposure to secondhand smoke. The Tobacco-Free Project has long worked to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, through early policies limiting smoking in office spaces, restaurants and bars, and newer efforts to limit exposure in parks and housing.  Below is a link to several of the ordinances San Francisco has passed to protect its citizens from exposure to second hand smoke.

The CDC has recently released data illustrating the disparities in second hand smoke exposure.  The data shows that children (aged 3-11), blacks, people below the poverty line, and those who rent are more likely to be exposed to second hand smoke.  The data can be seen here.

For information on Smoke Free Housing

Business Owner Requirements

Business owners are required to place “smoking only at the curb” signs clearly at the entryways of their business

Smoke Free Zones

San Francisco has adopted several policies to protect the health by limiting exposure to second hand smoke.  Smoking is prohibited in the following locations:

Health Code Article 19F governs most of the second hand smoke laws in San Francisco

Electronic Cigarettes

A growing concern within the public health community is the second hand aerosol emitted by electronic cigarettes.  This aerosol has tested positive for toxins, heavy metals and known carcinogens.  There is no long term data on the effects of exposure to this aerosol yet.



(Updated December 2016)