What is second-hand smoke?

The smoke blown out when someone is smoking a cigarette and the smoke from the end of a burning cigarette is known as Second-hand Smoke. The fine particles from smoke linger, spread to other rooms and stick to every surface and everyone.

Smoke from a cigarette contains over 4000 chemicals most of which are dangerous, some causing cancer. These chemicals don’t need to be inhaled directly from the cigarette to cause harm so not only cause problems to smokers but also to those around them.

Did you know?

  • Harmful poisonous chemicals from cigarettes linger for months in your home and car after the cigarette is extinguished.

Why is it dangerous for my children?

Because children breathe faster, their lungs and immune systems are still developing, their little hands touch everything they are much more vulnerable to the effects of Second-hand Smoke.

Did you know?

  • Each day in Britain 50 children under the age of 5 are admitted to hospital because of the effects of Second-hand Smoke.

What can I do?

The absolute best step you can make is to stop smoking but we don’t want to remove your personal choice to quit smoking – you will do that when you are ready.

When you are ready to stop smoking you can contact the Smoking Advice Service on 08085 20 20 30 for some assistance.

The second best step you can make is to consider making your home and car completely smoke-free. Your children (and any adults) will then be much healthier causing you less stress and worry about them.

If you can’t do either of these then consider restricting your smoking to ONE well-ventilated room and never to smoke in front of your children, in the home. Although your children will still be affected by second-hand smoke if you do this it will hopefully be to a lesser degree. They will also be less likely to become smokers in adulthood if their parents and people around them don’t smoke.

Did you know?

  • Second hand smoke levels are 23 times higher in the car and opening the window doesn’t help – the smoke just blows back into the children in the back seat.

Did you know?

  • A child living with a smoker/smokers inhales about 80-150 cigarettes a year – that is like giving them their own cigarette to smoke every 2 – 4 days

Did you know?

  • In Scotland around 745 people die every year due to the effects of second-hand smoke.

Did you know?

  • 85% of smoke from a burning cigarette is invisible.

Benefits of smoke-free homes and cars

Evidence reveals if you make your home and car smoke-free your children will have less chance of

  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Cot Death)
  • Asthma
  • Coughs and wheezing
  • Glue ear (can cause partial deafness)
  • Meningitis
  • Gastric reflux
  • Behavioural problems
  • Having learning difficulties
  • Missing school due to illness

Apart from this your home will be cleaner and need decorated less often, your pets will be healthier and live longer and any adults are much less likely to suffer from heart disease or cancer.

Another danger

Most people who die in house fires are killed because of smoking and cigarettes left burning. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are offering free home fire safety visits and the free fitting of fire alarms.

Did you know?

  • Most people who die in fires don’t have a working fire alarm.

Hints and Tips

If you are considering making your home smoke-free and reducing your children’s exposure to second-hand smoke, then the following hints and tips may be useful:

  • Advise everyone in the house or who travels in your car your reasons for wishing your house and car to be smoke-free and explain how it is harmful to your children. Ask for their support.
  • Always try to smoke outdoors.
  • Politely and firmly inform everyone who smokes that you wish them to smoke outside away from your door. Provide them with an ashtray, an umbrella if it is raining or even an outdoor seat so they have no excuse not to step outside.
  • Wear a ‘special’ jacket which you will only wear when smoking outside to protect the rest of your clothes.
  • It is better to take your children outside with you if you want to smoke a cigarette as this is much less harmful to them than smoking indoors.
  • If you decide to prohibit smoking in your home then it is a great time for a spring clean as smoke clings to curtains, carpets, furniture, children’s toys clothes and all surfaces
  • If it is not possible to smoke outside then limit smoking to 1 well ventilated room in your home and make an effort to make this the one your child will be in the least. Keep their playing, sleeping and eating areas completely smoke-free.
  • Avoid smoking in the car at all times. On long trips plan your journey and stop for breaks so you can smoke outside the car.
  • Choose to go to smoke-free places when out and about with your car.

Useful Contacts for Parents/Carers

  • Smoking Advice Service (SAS) – 08085 20 20 30
    This is NHS Grampian’s local smoking cessation service who can guide you on how you can be referred to the service and how you can gain support. Please visit the HI-Net SAS webpage for more information.
  • healthpoint – Please visit the HI-Net healthpoint webpage for more information or call the free healthline on 08085 20 20 30
  • Smokeline – 0800 848484 (8am-10pm)
    This is Scotland’s national stop smoking helpline and can offer support. You can also find further information on their website

Useful Websites


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