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.