Breathing in other people’s tobacco smoke can be harmful to your health. Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer and heart attacks in non-smokers. It can also reduce lung function; make respiratory problems worse; trigger asthma attacks; irritate eyes; and cause headaches, coughs, sore throats, dizziness and nausea. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.
The introduction of smoke-free legislation means that the risk of being exposed to other people’s tobacco smoke in public places is now greatly reduced. But many people still breathe in the tobacco smoke of family members and friends at home. Children in particular are now at greatest risk of exposure to second-hand smoke in the home and in family cars.
Parents who smoke should be aware that their children might become ill by breathing in tobacco smoke. Exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of respiratory problems, asthma attacks, middle ear disease and cot death. Children of smokers are also more likely to take up smoking, because they will see smoking as normal and copy adult behaviour.
Some practical tips to protect your family and friends are:
- Try to give up or cut down on your smoking. Contact Smokers Helpline Wales (0800 169 0 169) for friendly and practical advice on giving up smoking or to request an information pack. Or contact Stop Smoking Wales (0800 085 2219) for free, local support to help you quit. You can also visit our stop smoking page for tips to help you give up.
- Smoke outside whenever possible.
- On short trips, smoke before you set off, rather than in the car.
- On longer trips, stop and smoke outside, away from the children.