CDC's tobacco laboratory
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      CDC’s Environmental Health Laboratory houses the Tobacco Laboratory, which examines both individual and population exposures to the chemicals in tobacco products. This laboratory is unique because it measures toxic and addictive substances in tobacco products, in smoke and other emissions, and in people who use tobacco products or are exposed to secondhand smoke. No other laboratory in the federal government has these capabilities.

      Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemical components, and at least 250 of these chemicals are known to harm human health. By looking at all aspects of tobacco use and exposure, scientists in the Tobacco Laboratory are able to obtain a more accurate understanding of how smokers, non-smokers (through secondhand smoke), and smokeless tobacco users are exposed to harmful chemicals. In the early 1990’s, the Tobacco Laboratory produced data showing that 88% of the nonsmoking population was exposed to tobacco smoke (Figure 4.1). This finding was used as a justification for restricting smoking in public buildings. The Tobacco Laboratory continued to monitor tobacco exposure over time, and follow up measurements showed a dramatic reduction in secondhand smoke exposure in all segments of the population as a result of these interventions.

      Updated October 2012.


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