Passive smoking means breathing in ‘second-hand’ tobacco smoke from others. Passive smoking is damaging because it increases the risk of poor health, including heart disease and cancer. A person frequently exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke:
- is at a 20 to 30% higher risk of lung cancer than a person who is not exposed
- is exposed to more than 4,000 chemicals in the smoke, 69 of which are known to cause cancer
- is at higher risk of premature death
- has a higher risk of heart disease
There is no known safe level for second-hand passive smoke. In children, passive smoking also causes respiratory illness and contributes to the symptoms of asthma.
Follow the links below to find trusted information about the health effects of passive smoking.
Last reviewed: August 2018