Why is secondhand smoke in my home bad for my family?
When contained in a small space, secondhand smoke is more concentrated and has higher levels of toxins. Opening a window, smoking in another room or having air purifiers is not enough to protect your family.
Smoke can creep underneath closed doors and locked windows. Even after a cigarette, cigar or pipe has been put out, harmful toxins from secondhand smoke lingers in the air and clings to surfaces like clothes, carpets and drapes, and can circulate all over the house.
Learn more about what you can do to protect your loved ones in your home.
Smoking in cars
In a car, smoke collects quickly. In fact, the California Environmental Protection Agency reports that breathing cigarette smoke in a closed car is similar to what a firefighter breathes working four to eight hours fighting a wildfire.9
Smoking in a car is bad for anyone's health – but it is very bad for children, as their lungs are still growing. Every year up to 26,000 kids have asthma problems because they breathe secondhand smoke.8 One in five middle and high school students is exposed to secondhand smoke in cars.21 Some states – including California, Louisiana and Arkansas – have passed laws banning smoking in cars with children present.
MYTH #1: If I open a window in my home or car, I can get rid of most of my secondhand smoke.*
Fact: Opening a window or aiming your tobacco smoke out a window isn't enough. Extensive studies have shown that there is no level of ventilation that will eliminate the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.10 Opening a window can also result in airflow back into the room or car that might cause smoke to blow into the back seat.11
MYTH #2: If I smoke when my children aren't home or in the car, it can't hurt them.*
Fact: Secondhand smoke chemicals linger long after a finished cigarette. Scientists found that secondhand smoke can remain in contaminated dust and surfaces, even if smoking took place days, weeks or months earlier.12
Parks are places where everyone gathers to enjoy the outdoors, family activities and clean air.
Communities around the nation have policies to ensure clean air for everyone in their parks. Some cities have passed laws that make entire parks smoke-free. Others have 25 foot "safe zones" around playgrounds, so that kids can play without being exposed.
Cigarette butts are harmful too. They don't decompose and are poisonous to children and animals. The toxic residue in butts not only litters the environment, but can also seep into underground water systems and poison the soil.
Find smoke-free parks in your area.
Last Updated: 09/25/12
This Web site contains information on the revised Clean Indoor Air Act (RCW 70.160). It is not legal advice. This information cannot be considered as a substitute for legal advice from and representation by a qualified attorney.
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