Second-hand smoke is what smokers exhale and what rises from an idle burning cigarette, cigar or pipe.
Second-hand smoke spreads from one room to another even if the door to the smoking area is closed. Also, harmful chemicals can cling to rugs, curtains, clothes, furniture, and other materials, and can remain in a room long after someone has smoked.
No level of ventilation will eliminate the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. Opening a window or turning on a fan may cause the smoke to be blown directly back inside.
Air fresheners only mask the smell of the smoke and do not reduce the harm in any way. Even air filters (air purifiers) cannot remove all of the cancer-causing agents.
Why is second-hand smoke so dangerous?
Each year in Canada, breathing second-hand smoke causes more than 1,000 deaths in non-smokers from lung cancer and heart disease, and keeps thousands more from leading normal, healthy lives. Second-hand smoke hurts everyone and is more than a nuisance. It contains the same 4,000+ chemicals that are inhaled by a smoker, and at least 50 of which are known to cause cancer.
People who breathe second-hand smoke are at increased risk for:
acute respiratory problems (like asthma)
Unborn babies are at extra risk for:
low birth weight and slow growth
decreased blood flow, affecting the heart, lungs, digestive system, and central nervous system