A new medical report says secondhand smoke can be just as harmful as smoking, and separate sections for smokers and nonsmokers in restaurants and bars do not help.

The U.S. Surgeon General, America's top medical official, released the report Tuesday.  It says only smoke-free buildings and public places really protect nonsmokers from disease-causing agents in tobacco smoke.

The report says children are particularly vulnerable to secondhand smoke. It says children in homes where parents smoke are at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome, lung infections and more severe asthma.

A 2005 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that secondhand smoke causes some 3,000 deaths each year from lung cancer, and 46,000 deaths from heart disease. Secondhand smoke is also blamed for 430 infant deaths annually in the United States.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.