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Passive smoking

1-minute read

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.


iCanQuit (Second-hand smoke (passive smoking))

Last reviewed: August 2018

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Passive smoking | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is passive smoking? Passive smoking is breathing in smoke from other peoples cigarettes, cigars or pipes

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If someone is smoking then the smoke they blow out into the air can be breathed in by anyone who is near to them

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Information on environmental tobacco smoke (otherwise known as passive smoking).

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Smoking and tobacco - Cancer Council Australia

Find information on the effects of smoking and passive smoking, Cancer Councils work to reduce the harm caused by tobacco, and how to quit.

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Can interventions for parents and people caring for children reduce children's exposure to tobacco smoke

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A guide to understanding and reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Includes information on safe sleeping and passive smoking.

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There is no safe level of tobacco use. Some of the long-term effects of smoking include yellow teeth, bad breath, a risk of mouth cancer and increased risk of stroke.

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