Secondhand smoke is a mixture of smoke coming from the burning tips of cigarettes, pipes and cigars, and smoke exhaled by smokers.
Anyone around secondhand smoke breathes in the chemicals from the tobacco smoke. Secondhand smoke causes death and disease in people who do not smoke.
Thirdhand smoke is the chemicals left behind after secondhand smoke.
It is what you smell on your clothes, hair, furniture or in the car. Thirdhand smoke is also the brown film on the walls.
No amount of secondhand smoke is safe. The Environmental Protection Agency lists secondhand smoke as a known cause of cancer in people.
Poisonous gases and chemicals in secondhand smoke include:
Toxic metals in secondhand smoke include:
Secondhand smoke can cause health problems for adults who do not smoke. Each year, secondhand smoke causes:
Breathing secondhand smoke can:
Secondhand smoke can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), breathing problems, ear infections and asthma attacks in babies and children.
Among children aged 3 to 11 years old:
Children are also at a high risk to be exposed to thirdhand smoke. Children touch and crawl around surfaces that have chemicals on them from smoke.
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, the only way to protect your family from secondhand smoke is to live in a smoke-free environment.
Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Secondhand Smoke and Thirdhand Smoke, smok-ah-14058
Information adapted from the U.S. Surgeon General's 2006 report 'The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke' and U.S. Surgeon General's 2010 report 'How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: What it Means To You'
The best way to protect the health of your family is to quit smoking. For help: Talk with your health care provider. Call your insurance provider. Call Allina Health Class Registration at 1-866-904-9962 or go to allinahealth.org/classes for quit smoking classes or support groups.