Study: there's no safe amount of second-hand smoke

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Lighting up kills tens of thousands of non-smokers every year, according to a surgeon general's study released Tuesday, June 27.

The main point in the study is that there's no safe amount of second-hand smoke.

Doctors at MCG Health System put the lungs of News 12's Stephanie Baker to the test, and showed us how they might work after 10 years of smoke exposure. The results are surprising.

Whether you light up or know people who do, breathing the smoke can damage your lungs after just a few minutes.

Edgar Foreman says if you don't like it...leave. "That's their problem," he says.

But Libby Ingler says smokers should take it somewhere else.

"I've had cancer myself, so I don't like to be around it," she says.

The addiction kills 35,000 nonsmokers every year.

The surgeon general's study says people who don't light up can get heart disease, lung cancer, and many other diseases, especially if they're around indoor smokers. Indoors, the smoke lingers in the air and the toxins have nowhere to go.

"The distance from one smoker's smoke to the's not the only factor considered," says Dr. Thomas Dillard of MCG. "It's also the gradual buildup in a room over the course of hours."

Dr. Dillard says your body takes about five hours to recover from that kind of exposure.

He showed us how smoke-free lungs should work. A gradual decline shows normal breathing; a sharp decline shows emphysema. He says that kind of damage can happen even quicker in people with sensitive lungs.

"I'm reluctant to put into words a safe amount for anyone," Dr. Dillard says.