Secondhand smoke is a combination of the smoke in the air from a burning cigarette, cigar, or pipe and the smoke exhaled by a person who is smoking. Secondhand smoke is a known cause of cancer in humans. Secondhand smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, more than 60 of which are known to cause cancer. Secondhand smoke causes an estimated 46,000 premature deaths from heart disease each year in the United States among nonsmokers.
Because a child’s body is still growing, secondhand smoke is especially dangerous to them. Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to develop ear infections, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma.
Secondhand smoke increases the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).