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State Declares Secondhand Smoke A Pollutant

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Sacramento, CA — California today became the first to declare secondhand smoke a toxic air pollutant.

Experts say the decision by the California Air Resources Board may have more impact worldwide than it does in the largely smoke-free state.

Air quality regulators linked secondhand smoke with a sharply increased risk of breast cancer in young women. The disease kills about 40,000 women in the United States each year.

That finding conflicts with a 2004 report by the US Surgeon General. California scientists say their research is more current than the Surgeon General´s report.

The board´s unanimous decision relies on a report that also links drifting smoke to premature births, asthma and heart disease, other cancers, and numerous health problems in children.