Second-hand Smoke

Second-hand smoke is produced by the smoke exhaled from a smoker’s mouth or nose and the smoke emitted from the end of a lit tobacco product. The use of cigarettes, cigarillos, cigars and hookah produce second- and third-hand smoke.

Facts about second-hand smoke

  • Second-hand smoke is toxic. It contains over 4,000 chemicals; 50 of these chemicals can cause cancer.
  • Only 1/3 of smoke from a cigarette is actually inhaled by the smoker – the rest enters the air around the smoker.
  • Regular exposure to second-hand smoke increases the chance of lung disease by 25 per cent and heart disease by 10 per cent. It has many health effects.
  • Babies and young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke.
  • There is no method to keep smoke contained in a room. Smoke can travel in a number of ways between rooms through vents, doorways, fixtures, outlets, plumbing and ceiling fans.
  • Second-hand smoke is not removed by air purifiers and filters, opening windows, turning on a fan, closing doors or using air fresheners. Some of these may remove the odour, but not the harmful effects.
  • Second-hand smoke is harmful even outdoors.
  • There are laws banning smoking in workplaces and public places to protect against second-hand smoke exposure.
  • For every eight smokers that die from a smoking related illness, one non-smoker will die from exposure to second-hand smoke.

Facts about third-hand smoke

  • Third hand smoke is the smoke from tobacco products that becomes trapped in fabric, skin, hair, toys, carpets, dust and furniture.
  • People are exposed to third-hand smoke long after the tobacco product has been extinguished.
  • Third-hand smoke contains the same toxic chemicals as second-hand smoke.
  • It is important to protect yourself, children and babies from third-hand smoke.
  • Third-hand smoke is a particular concern for multi-unit dwellings.

Minimize your risk

  • Make your home smoke-free. To be a smoke-free home, no smoking is allowed in any room of the house.
  • Make your car smoke-free. It is illegal to smoke a tobacco product in a vehicle with passengers less than 16 years of age.
  • Keep your children smoke-free. Refrain from smoking around them, even when outdoors.
  • Remove ashtrays, lighters, matches, pipes and other tobacco accessories from your home and car.
  • Place smoke-free signs on entrances to your home.
  • Choose childcare providers who don’t smoke in their homes or near your children.
  • If you must use tobacco, wash your hands, change your clothes and brush your teeth before interacting with others.
  • Support the creation of tobacco-free environments.

For more information please contact the Huron County Health Unit at 519.482.3416 and ask to speak to a member of the tobacco team.