Dangers of 2nd Hand Smoke - Home

Dangers of 2nd Hand Smoke

Date: December 27, 2016

Second-hand smoke is the smoke that a smoker breathes out after taking a puff and also the smoke that comes out the tip of burning cigarette, pipe, cigar or similar.  This smoke, in particular, contains about 4,000 chemicals, 50 of which are known to cause cancer.  The more that you are exposed to these carcinogens, the greater your risk of developing negative health side effects.

As per the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), It is estimated that second hand smoke causes 3,000 deaths from lung cancer annually and tens of thousands of deaths from heart disease to non-smoking adults in the United States.  Second-hand smoke can have negative health effects on adults, children and developing unborn children.

If you smoke while you are pregnant or are exposed to harmful chemicals in second-hand smoke, see below for some serious health problems that may occur to the unborn child:

  • Miscarriage
  • Premature birth
  • Lower birth weight
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • Learning problems including attention-deficit hyperactivity-disorder (ADHD)

Infants that are exposed to second-hand smoke are at higher risk of SIDS.  Children, especially those under the age of 2 years have a higher risk of developing negative health problems if exposed to second-hand smoke including:

  • Upper respiratory infections
  • More frequent respiratory infection
  • Bronchitis and/or pneumonia
  • Tooth decay
  • Ear infections

Children growing up with parents that smoke are more likely to smoke as teenagers and adults.  Some long term side effects of second-hand smoke include the following:

  • Lung Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Cataracts (eye disease)

There are a number of control measures to help minimize or eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke, such as:

  • Quit smoking
  • Do not smoke in the house, car or in front of the children
  • Keep yourself and your children away from areas that permit smoking
  • Chose a baby sitter that does not smoke

In addition to the negative health effects of (second-hand) smoke, smoking in general can be dangerous from a safety and fire hazard perspective.

  • Never allow someone to smoke while holding a child (potential for burns)
  • Never leave a lit cigarette, cigar, pipe unattended
  • Keep matches and lighters out of a child’s reach


For information on healthier lifestyle choices and smoking cessation programs, please go to the following links and websites:                                                                                

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/general_facts/ http://www.lung.org/                                        http://www.healthybergen.org/                                                                                                                                                     http://www.state.nj.us/health/ctcp/smokefree/quitservices.shtml                                                                                                   http://www.holyname.org/LungDisease/smoking-cessation.aspx                                                                                             http://www.co.bergen.nj.us/index.aspx?NID=324


You can also go to the following link for the NJ Smoke Free Air Act: