2nd & 3rd Hand Smoke

Second Hand Smoke is the combination of smoke coming directly from a burning tobacco product and the smoke exhaled by a smoker. It contains many of the chemicals which make up tobacco smoke such as benzene, hydrogen cyanide, arsenic, cadminum, nickel and lead. These chemicals can be passed from the pregnant woman to her fetus through the placenta and affect the baby’s growth and development.

Over time, secondhand smoke causes death and disease in children and adults—even if they do not smoke.

Third hand smoke is the toxic chemicals in smoke that stick around even after the smoker has put out the cigarette, cigar, or pipe. Third hand smoke gets trapped in hair, skin, clothes, carpet, furniture, and toys. It builds up over time. Each time someone smokes, more smoke gets trapped in the fabric, furniture, walls, and other things around them. The chemicals from the trapped smoke pollute the air and get into people's lungs and bodies. If you are in a room or car where people usually smoke, even if they aren't smoking right then, you are exposed to third-hand smoke and toxic chemicals which make up cigarettes.

Third-hand smoke also gets into household dust, which babies swallow when they put their hands in their mouths. 

How can you reduce your risk to your baby from second and third hand smoke?

Here are a few ways:

  • Quitting smoking before conception, early in pregnancy or at any point during pregnancy is beneficial.
  • If you won’t quit smoking, cut down, and smoke only outdoors
  • Never smoke around pregnant women, infants, children and teenagers.
    • Don't allow smoke in your child's home, daycare, or the family car.
    • Keep your family members away from anywhere people are smoking.
    • Keep your family members away from any place where
    • Remember that opening a window, running a fan or air purifier, or smoking near the chimney will not get rid of second-hand smoke

Northern Tobacco Strategy Resource: Second and Third Hand Smoke



The Lung Association (2013).Smoking and tobacco: Quitting smoking. Available from http://lung.ca/protect-protegez/tobacco-tabagisme/second-secondaire/thirdhand-tertiaire_e.php

The Lung Association (2013).Smoking and tobacco: Quitting smoking. Protecting yourself from second-hand and third-hand smoke. Available at: http://www.lung.ca/protect-protegez/tobacco-tabagisme/second-secondaire/protectfamily-protegefamille_e.php

Smokefree Women. 3 Very Real Dangers of Secondhand Smoke . Available at: http://women.smokefree.gov/3-very-real-dangers-of-secondhand-smoke.aspx

Health Canada. Exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/tobac-tabac/legislation/label-etiquette/preg-gross-eng.php