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Second hand smoke: How to minimise the risks to others

What is second hand smoke?

When you smoke a cigarette, roll-up, pipe or cigar, most of the smoke doesn’t go into your lungs. It goes into the air around you where anyone can breathe it in. Second hand smoke is created by the lit end of the cigarette.
Second hand smoke is a lethal mixture of more than 4000 chemicals. Some of these are toxins and cancer-causing substances.
Exposure to second hand smoke is known as passive smoking, as people have no choice or control over their exposure. It is unpleasant and can damage their health.
Second hand smoke is dangerous to those around you, especially children. The best way to protect your loved ones is to stop smoking.

Smoking around children

One in six babies born in Jersey are at risk of passive smoking at 6 to 8 weeks of age. Tobacco smoke can harm babies even before they are born. Pregnant women exposed to passive smoke are more prone to premature birth and their baby is more at risk of low birthweight and cot death.
10% of homes in Jersey have at least one person smoking with children living within the home.
Children who live in homes where at least one person smokes are more likely to develop:

  • asthma
  • chest infections- pneumonia, bronchitis, bronchiolitis
  • meningitis
  • middle ear infections, coughs and colds

The effects of second hand smoke on children are much more pronounced, as their airways are still developing and they take more breaths. They are particularly vulnerable as their bodies are still developing, and they are less able to avoid exposure.

There is no hiding from second hand smoke at homes or in cars as:

  • smoking in one room, or in a hall or stairwell does not protect your children or non-smokers
  • the air within your home is still polluted, as smoke goes under doors and through windows and cracks
  • opening windows, using extractor fans, air purifiers and air fresheners does not get rid of second hand smoke
  • smoking less, or smoking when children / non-smokers aren't there doesn’t help, as smoke particles stay in a room for several hours

If you need help to stop smoking, contact our Help2Quit stop smoking service.

Smoking in vehicles with children

The Restriction on Smoking in Motor Vehicles (Smoke free Car Jersey) Law came into effect from September 2015.

This law means it’s illegal to smoke in a motor vehicle carrying young people under the age of 18 years with associated fines payable up to £2500.

E-cigarettes / vapes

It’s not recommended that e-cigarettes are used inside homes where children live.
More research is needed to evaluate the health consequences of second hand vapour exposure. This is especially important among vulnerable populations including:

  • children
  • babies
  • pregnant women
  • people with cardiovascular conditions

Consensus is growing that e-cigarettes are less harmful to smokers than cigarettes. However, they should only be used as a route to stopping smoking completely.

Read the Jersey consensus statement on e-cigarettes.

Living smoke free: A public resource

Contact us

Email us for more information about second hand smoke.

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