What is secondhand smoke?
Secondhand smoke is the smoke from burning tobacco products (e.g., cigarettes, cigars, pipes, etc.), as well as the smoke that is exhaled. Secondhand smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, about 70 of which are known to cause cancer and hundreds that are toxic. It causes lung cancer, respiratory diseases, stroke, heart disease and many more adverse effects on health.
There is NO safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Where are people most often exposed to secondhand smoke?
The #1 place where children are exposed to secondhand smoke is in their homes. 1 in 4 Americans live in multiunit housing where they are vulnerable to secondhand smoke seeping into their homes. Learn how to prevent secondhand smoke exposure in your home.
The only way to be protected from secondhand smoke exposure is to eliminate smoking in all homes, worksites and public places.
Children and Secondhand Smoke
Children and infants exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, respiratory illnesses, asthma attacks, decreased cognitive function, and many other serious health problems.
About 2 out of every 5 children are exposed to secondhand smoke, with 7 out of 10 black children exposed to secondhand smoke.
For more information on secondhand smoke, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
What is thirdhand smoke?
For weeks and even months after a cigarette has been smoked, harmful chemicals remain on surfaces. These surfaces can include countertops, upholstery, carpets, floors, clothing, car interiors, and even toys, blankets and car seats. Children and pets are especially vulnerable to being exposed to the chemicals in thirdhand smoke, as they breath near, crawl and play on, and touch (and then put their hands in their mouths!) the surfaces and objects that are contaminated.
Children’s developing brains and immature respiratory and immune systems make them especially vulnerable to even low levels of tobacco-related toxins.
In addition to their homes, children can be exposed to secondhand and thirdhand smoke in cars and even in child care. Learn more about how you can protect children from secondhand and thirdhand smokeTobacco-Free Child Care Guidebook Kids, Cars and Cigarettes