Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

September 8, 2022

Jelena Mustra Rakic, PhD

The World Health Organization estimates there are 800,000 deaths related to secondhand smoke exposure each year. A large body of scientific evidence has demonstrated secondhand smoke exposure is a risk factor for pulmonary diseases, including chronic obstructive lung disease (COPD). However, we don’t know the long-term health consequences from excessive and prolonged secondhand smoke exposure, which occurred many years ago, on lung damage and function.  

In a new study, Dr. Jelena Mustra Rakic and colleagues discovered ongoing lung tissue damage and impaired lung function many years after exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke in individuals who never smoked tobacco cigarettes. They evaluated nearly 300 people, most of whom were flight-attendants heavily exposed to cabin secondhand smoke before smoking was banned on all domestic and international flights in 1995. 

May 24, 2022

Mehrdad Arjomandi, MD

We know that exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke – even in the distant past – is associated with reduced exercise capacity and abnormal lung function with air trapping in the lungs. However, the cardiovascular health effects of remote exposure to secondhand smoke are less clear. In a new study, which was funded by a research award from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute and published in the BMJ Open Respiratory Research (, Arjomandi and colleagues found that past secondhand smoke exposure was associated with exercise capacity due to effects on both the lungs and the heart.  They evaluated the health effects of remote exposure to secondhand smoke in nearly 250 never-smoking flight attendants who had worked in smoky aircraft cabin before smoking was banned on commercial airlines.

April 1, 2022

Suzaynn Schick

As more states and locales legalize the smoking of cannabis at special events, cannabis stores, restaurants and hotels, nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand cannabis smoke and vape aerosol are also increasing.  However, we still don’t have much scientific data on how much secondhand smoke cannabis use creates and what the exposure levels might be.  A new paper in JAMA Network Open shows that smoking cannabis with a bong (a water pipe) can release extremely high concentrations of fine particles creating exposures that are very likely to harm the health of others.  Researchers measured the fine particulate matter under 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) in a living room where people were smoking cannabis with a bong.  Over eight experiments, Nguyen and Hammond showed that the average PM2.5 concentration was 1,300 µg/m3.  This is 37 times higher than the US EPA 24-hour standard for safe concentrations (37 µg/m3) and 1050 µg/m3 higher than the concentrations that the EPA deems hazardous.  

December 22, 2020

We submitted the UCSF TCORS public comment on FDA's draft guidance on how to design and conduct Tobacco Product perception and intention studies. The comment tracking number is: kiz-5uf9-042s.  Word and PDF versions of the document are attached.