What is second-hand smoke?

Second-hand smoke is the smoke from the lit end of your cigarette and the smoke you breathe out. The particles you breathe out are smaller and 85% of them are invisible and odourless.

Why is it harmful?

There are more than 4,000 toxic chemicals like lead, cyanide, and arsenic in second-hand smoke. 60 of them are carcinogens which are known to cause cancer and mutations in living cells.

How can it hang around for 5 hours?

A recent Scottish study found that the smoke you breathe out can linger in the air for up to 5 hours. You can't see or smell it but it's there.

This means it will still be there when your kids come home from school.

And because it's made up of particles that are smaller than household dust, it moves easily from room to room, as you move around and open doors.

Watch our film to discover whether it is ever safe to smoke indoors.

How can it affect my child?

Children are more vulnerable to second-hand smoke. They have smaller airways, breathe faster, and their lungs and immune systems are still developing.

Second-hand smoke can affect children of all ages:

  • Doctors say second-hand smoke in the UK accounts for over 300,000 consultations a year with children.
  • Children exposed to second-hand smoke at home are more at risk of coughs, colds, ear problems, chest infections, wheezing, asthma, phlegm, breathlessness and poorer lung function.
  • Second-hand smoke accounts for 40 cot deaths in the UK every year.
  • Every year, 9,500 children in Britain are admitted to hospital because of the effects of second-hand smoke.
  • Children growing up with a parent or others who smoke around them are more likely to become smokers themselves.

What can I do?

Even if you open a window, smoke in a different room or smoke at the open back door it's not enough to protect your kids.

And when you consider the harmful effects that second-hand smoke can have on your child's developing lungs, it's not worth the risk to smoke indoors.

Everyone's situation is different - we can help you find ways to keep your home smoke-free.

Since the introduction of the smoking ban, the biggest source of second-hand smoke for children is at home. The best way to protect your family from the hidden dangers of second-hand smoke is to find ways of quitting or take it right outside.

Thinking about e-cigarettes?

Find out more about the hidden dangers of second-hand smoke

Or, for help quitting visit www.canstopsmoking.com