Secondhand Smoke & Children

According to the Surgeon General's 2007 report, children are more heavily exposed to secondhand smoke than adults.  Nationwide, one in four children live with someone that smokes.  Young Children's bodies are not fully developed which means they have a harder time fighting the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.  In Pennsylvania, almost 850,000 children are exposed to secondhand smoke at home.  That's nearly 30% of children under the age of 18.


Breathing secondhand smoke may cause or worsen serious health conditions including:

    • Asthma
    • Bronchitis
    • Pneumonia
    • Ear infections
    • SIDS (sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • Thousands of children are hospitalized each year with serious lung infections and asthma.
  • Children living with secondhand smoke miss more school.
  • Pregnant women who smoke or are exposed to secondhand smoke tend to delivery earlier and have babies with unhealthy birth weights.
  • Newborn babies open their eyes less, move less and are more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

- National Institutes of Health


The American Academy of Pediatrics is working to raise awareness on the effects of thirdhand smoke.  The particulates from tobacco smoke build up a toxic residue on all surfaces including: carpets, furniture, counter tops, wall, drapery and blinds, clothing and toys.  These toxins contain carcinogens that cause disease.  The best way to reduce children's exposure to these harmful toxins is to create smoke-free environments.

You can protect your children.

  • Make your house and car Smoke-Free zones.  Limit smoking to the outdoors, away from children, doors and windows.
  • Put up no-smoking signs in your home and car.  Do not allow family members or visitors to smoke in your home or car.
  • Make sure your childcare setting is a Smoke-Free Zone.
  • If you smoke, wash your hands and change clothes after smoking to reduce the amount of toxins transferred to children, especially babies.
  • Eat in smoke-free restaurants.
  • Ride only in smoke-free vehicles.

Secondhand smoke does not respect walls.  Smoke in the home seeps into every room.  Residue from tobacco smoke covers every surface.  The best way to reduce the effects of tobacco smoke is to make the indoors Smoke-Free.

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