Second-hand smoke is smoke you don’t choose to take in. It happens when you breathe in smoke that a smoker breathes out. It also happens when you breathe in smoke from a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe.
Second-hand smoke also has more than 4,000 harmful chemicals. Hundreds of these are poisonous, close to 70 are known to cause cancer. Second-hand smoke has been an enormous problem over the past 50 years. Two and a half million people, who did not smoke, have died from second-hand smoke.
Second-hand smoke can happen in many different places, like homes, vehicles, workplaces, playgrounds, restaurants and bars. You can even be exposed to second-hand smoke in apartment buildings and other kinds of housing units. This is because much of the air in a private apartment can come from somewhere else in a building.
Health effects of second-hand smoke in babies and children:
- Increased risk of ear infections;
- frequent asthma attacks;
- breathing symptoms (such as coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath);
- lung infections (such as bronchitis, pneumonia);
- a greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS);
- lower than normal birth weight; or
- weak lungs.
Health effects of second-hand smoke in adults:
- lung cancer;
- cardiovascular disease (stroke, heart failure, heart disease);
- lung infections;
- breast cancer;
- hearing loss; or
There is only one way to fully protect people from second-hand smoke- to stop smoking in all vehicles, playgrounds, workplaces and home.