Ask the doctor: The concrete risks of secondhand smoke.

Published: September, 2013

Q. Does secondhand smoke increase my cancer risk? I've heard conflicting information.

A. I love it when I get a question to which I can give a crisp and unambiguous answer. Forget the "conflicting information." On this question, the science is as solid as a rock: exposure to secondhand smoke raises your risk of lung cancer and heart disease, two of the most important causes of suffering and premature death. That is why so many communities have mandated smoke-free indoor public places.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »