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What is second-hand smoke – and how does it affect you?

Second-hand smoke is what smokers breathe out and into the air. It’s also the smoke that comes from a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe.

Second-hand smoke has the same chemicals in it as the tobacco smoke breathed in by a smoker. Hundreds of the chemicals in second-hand smoke are toxic. More than 70 of them have been shown to cause cancer in human studies or lab tests.

Image of a man breathing in second-hand smoke

How second-hand smoke affects you

  • You risk developing lung cancer and other lung diseases.
  • You’re at a higher risk for heart attacks and stroke.
  • It can bother your skin, eyes, nose and throat.
  • If you have allergies or breathing problems (like asthma), second-hand smoke can make them much worse.

Find great tips to avoid or stop second-hand smoke in Live Free of Second-hand Smoke.


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