Second-Hand Smoke Dangers

Second-hand smoke is a mixture of the smoke given off by the burning end of a cigarette, pipe or cigar, and the smoke exhaled from the lungs of smokers.

Second-hand smoke is harmful to your children.

  • Adults breathe in and out 14 to 18 times per minute. 
  • A newborn breathes up to 60 times per minute
  • When there is cigarette smoke in the air, children get more toxins in their lungs than adults.
  • Young children depend on adults to keep their surroundings safe.  They need you to keep their air smoke-free.
  • Children who spend one hour in a very smoky room breathe in the toxic chemicals equal to smoking 10 cigarettes.
  • Infants in smoking households have more middle ear infections because the smoke irritates the tube leading to the ear.

While you are trying to quit, here are some tips to keep your child safe from second-hand smoke:

  • Do not smoke while holding a child.
  • Do not smoke in your home or car.  The chemicals from smoking stay in your walls, furniture and even your child’s toys and can stay in the air for several weeks.
  • If you must smoke, do it outdoors away from your child.
  • Seat your family in the non-smoking areas of restaurants and other public places.
  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of having a premature baby or a baby with low birth weight.
  • The risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) increases up to four times for babies with mothers who smoke, or smoked when they were pregnant.
  • Researchers have found that children exposed to second-hand smoke every day are three times more likely to develop lung cancer.
  • Children exposed to second-hand smoke have smaller lungs and decreased lung function.
  • It is not easy to quit smoking.  Trying to do it alone can make it even harder.
  • Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to find support.
  • The health benefits of quitting are great for both you and your child.
  • Find support in your attempt to quit smoking.

Last Updated 09/2012