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Secondhand Smoke

What is secondhand smoke?​
Secondhand smoke comes from the:
1. Smoke from the end of a burning cigarette that goes into the air. 
2. Smoke that is breathed out into the air.

Smoke that is breathed out into the air is more harmful than both the smoke from the end of the burning cigarette and the smoke that is breathed in by the smoker. To learn about what is in cigarette smoke, read our page on smoking facts.

​C​​hallenges of Secondhand Smoke and How to Deal with Them

It may be difficult to reduce or eliminate secondhand smoke from your home and car. It is a good idea to talk about the reasons why and try to plan how to deal with them ahead of time. ​You can also use these tip sheets to help with limiting secondhand smoke:

Tips for Reducing Secondhand Smoke in Your Home and Car.pdf

Challenges with Secondhand Smoke and How to Deal with Them.pdf

How can secondhand smoke affect us?

Being close to secondhand smoke, even for a short time can irritate your eyes, nose and throat. It can also cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, coughing and wheezing. Secondhand smoke can make allergy or asthma symptoms worse. If you are near secondhand smoke over a long time there is a risk of heart disease and cancer. When breathing in secondhand smoke, it makes it harder for your body to take in and use oxygen. Depending on how much secondhand smoke is in the air, it can be like you are smoking 1 to 10 cigarettes a day.

​How can secondhand smoke affect pregnant women and the fetus?   

For a pregnant women, what she eats, drinks and breathes passes to the growing fetus through an organ called the placenta.  If she breathes in secondhand smoke, it is passed to the fetus. The carbon monoxide found in secondhand smoke, can raise the heart rate and lower the oxygen the fetus receives.  

You can use this information to remind yourself why quitting or reducing smoking is good for you and your family, or if you're a family member or friend, you can help the person in your life understand how their smoking impacts you. 

Secondhand smoke cannot be removed by 1. opening a window, 2. turning on a fan, 3. closing a door, 4. spraying air freshener, 5. smoking in another room, 6. using an air purifier, and 7. blowing smoke in a different direction