Secondhand smoke (2033)

Key points below

How smoke affects the health of you and your child

What is secondhand smoke?

Secondhand smoke is the smoke breathed out from the lungs of smokers. It is also the smoke that comes from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe.

The smoke from the burning end of a cigarette is more dangerous than the smoke the smoker breathes out.

Secondhand smoke has more than 7,000 substances and 70 of them are known to cause cancer. There is not a safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Even a small amount can be
harmful to health. The effects of being around tobacco smoke are especially harmful to young children. This is because their bodies and organs are still in developmental stages.

Note: Secondhand marijuana smoke contains the same dangerous chemicals as tobacco cigarettes. It also contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the ingredient in marijuana that causes someone to feel high. The secondhand aerosol (mist) from e-cigarettes, with or without marijuana, also contains chemicals and can be harmful. The “no smoking” rules should include marijuana and all vaping devices.

What can it cause?

Secondhand smoke causes:

How can it hurt my child?

Children who inhale secondhand smoke are more likely to:

Long-term effects of Secondhand Smoke

Children who grow up with parents who smoke are more likely to smoke. Children and teens who smoke are affected by the same health conditions affecting adults. Secondhand smoke can cause problems for children later in life.

These include:

How can I protect my family?

In the home:

Where can I get help to stop?

Classes to help you stop smoking are offered by:


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.