Secondhand Smoke and Non-Smokers

Secondhand smoke harms children and adults, and the only way to fully protect non-smokers is to  eliminate smoking in all homes, worksites, and public places.

Separating smokers from non-smokers, opening windows, or using air filters does not prevent people  from breathing secondhand smoke

  • Secondhand smoke is dangerous to anyone who breathes it in. It can stay in the air for several  hours after somebody smokes. Breathing secondhand smoke for even a short time can hurt your  body.

Over time, secondhand smoke has been associated with serious health problems in non-smokers:

  • Lung cancer in people who have never smoked.
  • Higher risk of heart disease‚ or heart attack.
  • Breathing problems like coughing‚ extra phlegm‚ wheezing‚ and shortness of breath.

Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for children, babies, and women who are pregnant:

  • Mothers who breathe secondhand smoke while pregnant are more likely to have babies with  low birth weight.
  • Babies who breathe secondhand smoke after birth have more lung infections than other babies.
  • Secondhand smoke causes kids who already have asthma to have more frequent and severe  attacks.
  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to develop bronchitis, pneumonia, and  ear infections.

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Cancer Institute at the National  Institutes of Health.