secondhand smoke

Secondhand Smoke in Cars

Secondhand Smoke (SHS) in Cars is Dangerous for Children

SHS in a vehicle can be more toxic than other types of exposure because of the smaller space which essentially traps dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and particulate matter in the car. [i] , [ii]

The air quality in a car where someone is smoking can reach nearly 10 times the worst outdoor air pollution measured by the Environmental Protection Agency.[iii]

Opening a car window does not clear the air sufficiently to reduce dangerous levels of SHS.[iv] , [v]

The gases and particles in tobacco smoke stay on the upholstery and other surfaces inside a car. This exposes passengers to toxins long after active smoking occurred in the car.[vi]

Breathing SHS in a Car Causes Health Problems for Children

There is no risk-free level of SHS exposure. Even brief exposure can be dangerous. Over 7,000 chemicals are found in a single puff of smoke, including more than 70 carcinogens.  [vii] , [viii]

SHS causes ear problems, acute respiratory infections, and wheezing in children,

Breathing SHS can slow a child’s lung growth, and make asthma more severe. SHS can also cause eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. [ix] , [x]

SHS exposure puts children at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). [xi]

SHS puts children and adults at an increased risk for developing heart disease and lung cancer. 7, 8, [xii]

Protect Children from SHS

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Secondhand Smoke


  • How Dangerous is Smoking in Cars?
  • Americans for Nonsmoker's Rights