Secondhand smoke and young children

Secondhand smoke is the smoke breathed out by smokers and the smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe.  The smoke from the burning end of a cigarette has many harmful chemicals.  Exposure to secondhand smoke is called involuntary smoking, or passive smoking, and it is extremely harmful to the health of young children.

  • Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to suffer from pneumonia, bronchitis, and have more ear infections.
  • Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to develop asthma.
  • If they have asthma and breathe secondhand smoke, they are more likely to have more asthma attacks.
  • Every year there are hundreds of thousands of cases of infections, such as bronchitis and pneumonia, in infants and children under 18 months of age who breathe secondhand smoke, resulting in tens of thousands of hospitalizations.

Precautions

To prevent children from being exposed to secondhand smoke, take these precautions:

  • Never smoke around children
  • Don’t let others smoke around children
  • Don’t let people smoke near the entrances or exits of child care areas
  • Don’t let people smoke on or near playgrounds where children are routinely present