Each year more than 1,000 non-smoking Canadians die from second-hand smoke.
Second-hand smoke affects everyone. Those most at risk are babies, young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic illnesses. Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke while pregnant can affect the baby’s growth and development which may lead to low birth weight. Children are more vulnerable to second-hand smoke as they breathe faster than adults. Children are more likely to experience asthma, respiratory infections, other respiratory problems and ear infections when exposed to second-hand smoke.
Second-hand smoke, also known as environmental tobacco smoke, contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Exposure to second-hand smoke causes many health problems. They range from throat irritations to chest infections and lung cancer. We know less about the effects of second-hand vapour from products like electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). However, second-hand vapour can have nicotine and other chemicals that may be harmful.
There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke, even outdoors. Second-hand smoke can remain in the air, on clothes, carpet, furniture and children’s toys long after the cigarette is out. Opening a window, turning on a fan, smoking in another room, or using an air purifier does not remove second-hand smoke. The residue that attaches itself to floors, carpets, furniture, etc., from smoking and vaping is called third-hand smoke and vapour.
Make your home and car smoke-free (click to expand) »
For more information on how to make your home and car smoke-free, read Make Your Home and Car Smoke-free from Health Canada.
Second-hand smoke and your rights (click to expand) »
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