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Second-hand Smoke

Second-hand smoke (SHS) is:

  • The smoke from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe.
  • The smoke breathed out by a smoker.
  • Tobacco smoke lingers on clothes and other surfaces even after a cigarette, pipe or cigar has been put out1
  • This lingering tobacco smoke has recently been called third-hand smoke1
Second-hand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease in adults. 1
Making your home or car 100% smoke-free is the only way to avoid the harmful effects of SHS.

Why Second-hand Smoke is Dangerous to Health

  • No amount of second-hand smoke is safe. 2
  • Second-hand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals. More than 50 of these chemicals are known or suspected to cause cancer. 2
  • Second-hand smoke causes lung cancer and heart disease in adults. 2
  • Second-hand smoke spreads through all rooms of a building, harming the health of everyone exposed. 3

How Second-hand Smoke Harms Children

Children are especially at risk to the health dangers of second-hand smoke.

  • Second-hand smoke (SHS) is more harmful for children because their lungs are smaller and they breathe more rapidly than adults. 3
  • Children exposed to SHS are more likely to develop asthma, ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia. 3
  • Babies who regularly breathe second-hand smoke have a greater chance of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) (also known as ‘crib death’). 2
  • Exposure to second-hand smoke is a serious health risk for growing children. Studies show SHS has negative effect on how well children pay attention, think and behave. 4
Protecting Children from Second-hand Smoke
  • Children can’t avoid second-hand smoke by themselves.
  • It's our responsibility — as parents, caregivers and child care providers — to protect children from exposure by keeping their indoor and outdoor environments smoke-free.
Smoking in Child Care Centres
  • The Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibits smoking in day nurseries* and licensed private-home day cares*.
  • This does NOT apply to unlicensed child care providers – although they should be encouraged to provide smoke-free environments as well.
  • More information

Smoking with Children in the Car

  • Since January 21, 2009, smoking inside a vehicle with a child under the age of sixteen has been against the law. 5
  • It doesn’t matter if the vehicle is parked or moving, or whether a door, window or sunroof is open. 6
  • Both drivers and passengers could be charged for smoking while someone under sixteen years old is present in the vehicle. 6
Please visit the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion or Campaign for a Smoke-Free Ride for more information about this new legislation.

More about smoking and smoke-free spaces

  • Call us at 905-799-7700 (toll-free from Caledon at 905-584-2216) for more information about the health effects of smoking, second-hand smoke and how to create smoke-free spaces.


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