Protecting Your Child From Secondhand Smoke


The effects of secondhand smoke may lead to multiple health problems, increased medical costs, and less rest for the parents and child.

  • Asthma: Secondhand smoke causes more frequent asthma attacks, more severe disease, and greater number of doctor and ER visits.
  • Allergies: Secondhand smoke causes the development of more allergies which may increase the need for medications.
  • Chest infections: Causes infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, croup, or bronchitis.
  • Middle ear infections: A leading cause of deafness, children will have trouble sleeping, chronic ear infections increase doctor and ER trips.
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): “Back to Sleep” may help prevent SIDS, however babies exposed to secondhand smoke are still at risk for SIDS.
  • Eye and throat irritation, wheezing, cough, headaches.
  • Behavioral and learning difficulties: severe and chronic asthma, allergies and infections hinder the child’s ability to behave and learn properl


  • Secondhand smoke is the 3rd leading cause of preventable death.
  • 6,000 children every year die from the effects of parental smoking.
  • Cigarette smoke contains more than 250 poisons, including 69 that are known to cause cancer.
    Learn more about what's in smoke here >



  • Don’t allow smoking in your car and home – make your home and car a smoke-free zone
  • Place no-smoking stickers inside your car and home
  • Set an example for your children – don’t smoke!


Can’t I just reduce the amount that I smoke inside, or wait until the kids have gone to bed?

No, cigarette smoke can reach all areas of the home, including under closed doors and can remain in the air, furnishings and clothes. There is no household ventilation system that can stop the travel of tobacco smoke.

What if my spouse/partner doesn’t believe that secondhand smoke is harmful?

A large amount of evidence from around the world clearly shows that secondhand smoke is harmful to children’s health. These include reports by the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

How do I tell visitors not to smoke in the house?

Place a no-smoking sticker inside your home and car to make it known to all your visitors that your house is a smoke-free home. If it is typical for your visitors to smoke in the house, let them know that you are looking after your child’s health by making your home smokefree. If you need to accommodate visitors who smoke, designate a smoking area outside away from windows or doors where smoke could drift inside.

What if I want to quit smoking?

If you want to quit smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to begin your way to a tobacco free life. And until you quit, make the decision to keep your home and car tobacco free for the sake of your family.