Cigarette smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. In order to have a healthy home, the home must be smoke free.

What are the sources of smoking?

Obviously, the number one source of smoking comes from cigarettes. Other sources of smoke include burning other tobacco products, such as cigars or pipes.smoking

What are the health effects of smoking?

Smoking causes many chronic diseases, such as lung cancer and many other forms of cancer; heart disease; and respiratory diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia. According to the CDC, each year in the United States, about 480,000 people die as a result of smoking. This is about one in every five deaths.

Overall, smokers are less healthy than nonsmokers. Smoking affects the immune system, which increases a person’s risk for infections. Smoking also increases the risk for fractures, dental diseases, sexual problems, eye diseases, and peptic ulcers.

When people quit smoking, their bodies begin to recover, and their risk for smoking-related diseases decreases over time. Although people who smoke will never be as healthy as they would have been had they never smoked at all, risks continue to decrease the longer they stay smoke free.

Can my child be affected by second hand smoke?

Yes, unfortunately, if your child is around someone who smokes, they may be at risk for exposure to second hand smoke.

According to the CDC, in children, secondhand smoke causes the following:

  • Ear infections
  • More frequent and severe asthma attacks
  • Respiratory symptoms (for example, coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath)
  • Respiratory infections (bronchitis and pneumonia)
  • A greater risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Can adults be affected by second hand smoke?

Yes, according to the CDC, in adults who have never smoked, secondhand smoke can cause:

  • Heart disease
    • For nonsmokers, breathing secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels.
    • It is estimated that secondhand smoke caused nearly 34,000 heart disease deaths each year during 2005–2009 among adult nonsmokers in the United States.
  • Lung cancer
    • Secondhand smoke exposure caused more than 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year during 2005–2009 among adult nonsmokers in the United States.
  • Stroke

How can I protect my home from second hand smoke?

You can protect yourself and your family from secondhand smoke by:

  • Quitting smoking if you are not already a nonsmoker
  • Not allowing anyone to smoke anywhere in or near your home
  • Not allowing anyone to smoke in your car, even with the windows down
  • Making sure your children’s day care center and schools are tobacco-free
  • Seeking out restaurants and other places that do not allow smoking (if your state still allows smoking in public areas)
  • Teaching your children to stay away from secondhand smoke
  • Being a good role model by not smoking or using any other type of tobacco

How can I quit smoking?

Research shows that counseling, self-help programs, and the use of FDA-approved medications are safe and effective ways to increase quitting. These methods can double your chances of quitting for good. Success rates are best when counseling and medications are used together. The FDA has approved the following medications as being safe and effective:

  • Five nicotine replacement therapies
    • Nicotine patches
    • Gum
    • Lozenges
    • Inhalers
    • Nasal sprays
  • Two non-nicotine medications
    • Bupropion
    • Varenicline

We cannot provide medical advice, give specific treatment instructions, or refer you to a specialist care provider. However, Smoking & Tobacco Use Quit Smoking  and Smoke Free offer useful resources to help you quit smoking. You also may want to contact a licensed health care provider or call your state tobacco quitline for more information on smoking cessation treatment options.


Smoking & Tobacco Use: Quit Smoking: How to Quit

National Network of Tobacco Cessation Quitlines
1-800-QUITNOW (1-800-784-8669)
TTY 1-800-332-8615

If you have a question that was not answered above, feel free to “Ask an Expert“!