Year of Publication



Public Health

Date Available


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Angela Carman

Committee Member

William Pfeifle

Committee Member

Richard C. Ingram, DrPH


Smoking has been known as the leading preventable cause of death and premature disease in the United States (DHHS, 2014). Every year, cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000, approximately, one in five deaths (DHHS, 2014). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "smoking causes more deaths each year than all of the listed combined: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), Illegal drug use, Alcohol use, Motor vehicle injuries, and Firearm-related incidents" (CDC, 2014). Since 1964, 31 Surgeon General's Reports have revealed the causal relationship between health outcomes and tobacco smoke exposure (DHHS, 2014). The report, The Health Consequences of Smoking-50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General (Surgeon General Report, demonstrated that tobacco smoking harms nearly every organ of the body (DHHS, 2014). The list of diseases caused by smoking and tobacco exposure has been continually added over the past half a century, including the traditional respiratory diseases, such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other "new casual diseases", such as tuberculosis, ectopic pregnancy and impaired immune function (DHHS, 2014). Besides smoking and tobacco use, secondhand smoke and third-hand smoke can also harm people's health. According to the CDC, "secondhand smoke is the combination smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers" (CDC, 2014). And any level of exposure to secondhand smoke can cause health problems. Scientific American (2009) defined "third-hand smoke" as "tobacco smoke contamination that remains after the cigarette has been extinguished." A study revealed that third-hand smoke makes the toxins remain in the carpet, clothes, and other materials (Scientific American, 2009). These toxic materials can linger in these items for a long time, even several days (Scientific American, 2009).

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