You Have the Power to Protect Your Family From Secondhand Smoke
People who breathe secondhand smoke at home or at work have 20 to 30 percent increase in the risk of lung cancer and heart disease. Secondhand smoke puts your family in harm's way. It contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals, and is known to cause lung cancer and heart disease. In children, it is known to cause asthma, sore throats, bronchitis and ear infections. Check out this infographic to learn more (PDF).
If your family is being exposed to secondhand smoke, you have the power to protect them. Here is a list of simple things you can do:
Rules to live by
- Make your house smoke-free. If you smoke, take it outside. Ask guests to do the same.
- A no-smoking rule is the only way to fully protect your family. Air conditioners, air filters and open windows won't entirely eliminate secondhand smoke.
- Place a "Thank you for not smoking" sign in your home, office and car.
- Clean your carpet, rugs, drapes, furniture and walls to remove the smell of smoke—and don't forget to clean the inside of your car, too!
- Wash clothing and jackets.
- Remove ashtrays from your home and fill ashtrays in your car with candies or coins.
- Make your car smoke-free.
- Inform babysitters and others who work for you (including repair workers, gardeners, etc.) that your home and car are smoke-free.
- If you take your children to a child care provider, choose one with a no-smoking rule. Licensed child care providers are required by law to have a no-smoking rule.
- If you have older relatives that need to live in a group care home, choose one that is smoke-free.
- Teach your children to stay away from secondhand smoke.
- If your spouse or partner smokes, ask him or her to smoke outside. Encourage your partner to quit smoking. Support may be available at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or www.quitline.com.
Secondhand smoke is a known cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). You can take easy steps to help protect your kids:
- Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do to protect your baby.
- If you do smoke, do so away from your baby, outside your home or car.
- Put the baby down to sleep on its back.
Interested in Smoke-free Housing?
Visit our smoke-free housing section to learn how many people are clearing the air where they live.
Contact your local county health department for more information on how to protect your family.