The Dangers of Second Hand Smoke


There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.


Smokers aren't the only ones affected by smoking - anyone who is exposed to tobacco smoke may be harmed by its toxic chemical components, including non-smokers, children and even pets.


Secondhand smoke (also called Environmental Tobacco Smoke, or ETS) is a mixture of the unfiltered smoke that comes from burning tobacco and the smoke exhaled by the smoker.  Because smoke from a burning cigarette is unfiltered, it may contain twice the amount of tar and nicotine as the smoke that passes through the filter.


Breathing secondhand smoke increases the risk of developing heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory problems.  Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke.  Anyone who already has heart disease or respiratory problems should be careful to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.


  • Secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart disease by 25-30%.
  • It increases the risk of lung cancer by 20-30%.
  • It irritates the eyes, nose and throat.
  • It worsens asthma, allergies and bronchitis.
  • It causes headaches and nausea.
  • Babies are at higher risk of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention



Third Hand Smoke


A relatively new term, third hand smoke, is being used to describe the residue that builds up on surfaces after exposure to smoke.  More research is coming out on the effects of third hand smoke but it is clear this toxic residue does cause health risks.  Read more here.

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