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Live smoke-free

Our tips can help you avoid or stop second-hand smoke from getting into your breathing space.

  • Tips to be smoke-free at home
    • Have a meeting to talk about making your home smoke-free.
    • Set up a smoking area outside your home for smokers to use. Make sure it’s not where the smoke will drift in through windows, doors or vents.
    • Tell visitors before they come over that your home is now smoke-free. If they smoke, it must be outside.
    • Put a no-smoking sign in your entry hallway or on the wall next to the door.
    • Tell friends and family how much you value the changes they are making to be smoke-free.
    • Offer a “smoking coat” or sweatshirt to people who go outside to smoke. That way, they won’t bring back third-hand smoke on their clothes.
    In condos or apartment buildings

    It can be harder to make your home smoke-free if you live in a condo or apartment building. When you share walls, vents and ducts of an apartment, you also share some of the air.

    Ventilation systems (like air filters) in hallways and units can help clear some of the smoke. Air systems can help reduce the odour of smoke and may reduce eye and throat irritation, but they don’t get rid of the chemicals completely.

    Some people will feel OK talking directly to neighbours who smoke. Tell them about the problem and try to work out a solution together. They may not be aware that the smoke is coming into your unit.

    Tips to stop smoke from entering your unit
    • Look for cracks and spaces between the walls and floor and for openings around windows, doors and plumbing. Then, block or seal all these open spaces with filling or sealing materials.
    • Add weather-stripping around your front door and balcony door.
    • Put door sweeps on the bottom of those doors – these fill the space between the floor and the bottom of the door.
    • Place special gaskets or sealers behind electrical switch plates and outlet plates to block smoke.
    Talk to your landlord or property manager

    Share your concerns with your landlord or property manager, and ask for their help.

    • Ask the property manager to check the ventilation system to make sure it’s working properly so the air is a little cleaner.
    • Keep track of where and when the smoke is entering your unit.
    • Get the property manager to make repairs to seal off the smoke if you can’t do it.
    • If the smoke is coming from a specific unit, ask the landlord or property manager to try to block it. They can use the same methods in the smoker’s unit that you used in your unit.
    • If people are smoking in common areas – like the laundry room, pool area, stairwells or elevators – ask management to post no-smoking signs.
    • Read your rental agreement. If all or part of your building is smoke-free, ask them to enforce the rules.

    There may be other people in your building who are having the same problems as you are with second-hand smoke. You may want to work with them to try to get a no-smoking policy for the building or your floor. Share your group’s concerns with the local tenant association or your condo board. They might be able to help.

    If you’ve tried everything and are still no closer to living smoke-free, you may in the end decide to move to a smoke-free building or rent in a newer building with better air quality. Some buildings are going smoke-free.

  • Tips to be smoke-free in your car

    A car is a small, closed-in space. So if someone is smoking inside it, the toxic chemicals from second-hand smoke are even stronger. Some people think that rolling down the windows will get rid of the chemicals – but it doesn’t. Neither does smoking with the cigarette outside the car. If you smoke inside your car, it gets coated in third-hand smoke too.

    If you drive a vehicle for work, there may already be rules to follow that ban smoking or reduce the amount of second-hand smoke. If not, our tips can help.

    Tips to be smoke-free in your car
    • Clean the inside of your car, including a thorough vacuuming and shampooing to help get rid of most of the third-hand smoke.
    • Tell passengers that your car is smoke-free.
    • Put a no-smoking sign in the car.
    • Stop for breaks on longer trips so that smokers can smoke outside and away from the car.
    • Keep cigarettes out of reach, in the trunk or in the back of a pickup truck or van, so you’re less likely to smoke.
  • Be smoke-free at work

    In Canada, almost all enclosed workplaces are smoke-free. But for some types of work, people still come into contact with second-hand smoke, especially if they have to enter someone’s home. Workers who may still have to be around second-hand smoke include caregivers, tradespeople, emergency workers and police officers.

    If you’re an outside worker (for example, in construction, landscaping, farming or fishing), you may be around second-hand smoke more often because smoking may still be permitted onsite. Unfortunately, laws to protect non-smokers in some outdoor industries haven’t caught up with the laws for inside workers. If your workplace isn’t smoke-free, talk to your employer about ways to reduce second-hand smoke or to make the workplace smoke-free. Encourage them to support programs to help employees quit smoking.

  • Tips to be smoke-free outdoors

    When you’re outside – maybe waiting for the bus or enjoying a day in the park – you can still be around second-hand smoke. The good news is that in some parts of Canada, smoking has been banned from many outdoor spaces – schoolyards, playgrounds, parks, outdoor sports and concert venues and restaurant patios. But not all outdoor spaces are included. If someone is smoking around you outdoors, you can walk away from the smoker or take action with these tips.

    Tips to be smoke-free outdoors
    • Where smoking is not permitted, ask a person in charge to make smokers follow the no-smoking policy.
    • If someone is smoking and you feel comfortable talking to them, let them know if it’s a smoke-free area. Ask them to stop smoking or to move away from you.
    • When going to an outside patio, ask if it’s smoke-free. If it’s not, you can sit inside or go to another place.
    • When you’re going to an event at an outdoor sports arena or entertainment venue, find out if it’s smoke-free or if there’s a no-smoking section.


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