What does California's decision to declare secondhand smoke a "toxic air contaminant" mean?

This groundbreaking decision by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) in January 2006 drew national attention to the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS), which joined the ranks of arsenic, benzene, and diesel exhaust as a toxic air contaminant. Through a rigorous four-year review of the scientific evidence examining the health impacts of SHS, the ARB found that there is no safe minimum level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

This designation is only a first step. Next, the Board will determine what additional measures are needed to reduce the public's exposure to secondhand smoke. It could recommend new statewide laws or expanded public education campaigns. Advocates will have an opportunity to influence the proposed measures through public comment periods and hearings. Learn more about the ARB's process at their website.