Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) is a mixture of the particles and gases that are emitted from burning a cigarette, pipe, or cigar, as well as the smoke exhaled by the smoker.

Breathing in other people’s cigarette smoke is called passive smoking. (This is also referred to as second hand smoke).

Exposure to ETS is harmful, unpleasant and research indicates that it encourages other smokers to smoke.

Being around other people’s tobacco smoke (passive smoking) can cause a range of serious diseases, conditions and illness.

Tobacco smoke can contain more than 4,000 different substances including carbon monoxide and formaldehyde.

More than 40 of the substances are known to cause cancer in people or animals and many of them can cause itchy eyes, coughing, and sneezing.

There is no risk-free level of exposure to passive smoke.

Children are especially vulnerable and sensitive to the many harmful chemicals found in tobacco smoke which can cause the onset of asthma, nose, throat and eye irritation and lung damage leading to chronic disease.

To reduce exposure to ETS:

  • Make your car and home smoke-free
  • Place smoke-free stickers in your home, in your car or on your baby’s pram
  • Provide ashtrays outdoors for visitors who smoke
  • Don’t be afraid to ask smokers not to smoke near you or your child
  • Respect others and do not light up in your friends or family’s home and cars
  • Be aware of the people around you – be particularly mindful not to smoke around pregnant women and children
  • Do not smoke if you are pregnant – it can compromise the health of the unborn child
  • If you are a smoker, consider quitting.  (see Fresh Start courses information below or call Quitline on 13 78 48)






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