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Secondhand smoke
A mixture of pollutants emitted into the air by a smoker’s exhalations and the burning end of a cigarette, pipe, or cigar.

Thirdhand smoke
Leftover secondhand smoke chemicals that combine in the air, form new compounds and stick to surfaces. The leftover bad smell indicates that toxins are present.


Exposure to any tobacco smoke is dangerous

  • Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals, 69 of which cause cancer
  • Infants and children are more vulnerable to the effects of smoke than adults. Childhood and infant smoke exposure is linked to preterm delivery, respiratory and middle ear infections, asthma, low birthweight, SIDS, and behavior and cognitive development problems

The residue from thirdhand smoke is full of toxic particles

  • Some poisons attach to surfaces and dust, building up for months on clothing, walls, carpets, furniture, curtains, pillows, drapes, skin, and hair
  • Children and infants are at greater risk for exposure to toxins because they touch, crawl, eat and play near contaminated surfaces
  • Chemical reactions from the aging of tobacco smoke may cause thirdhand smoke to be even more dangerous for children and infants than secondhand

Are your children protected?

  • Some "smoke-free" policies aren't really smoke-free because they allow smoking after-hours or in other areas of the facility
  • The only way to protect children from second and thirdhand smoke is to prohibit smoking at all times and in all areas

This fact sheet also available in PDF format