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Smoking indoors can cause more harm than you think

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If you smoke indoors, you may be causing more harm to your family and home than you think. Smokefree South West are running a campaign to show you the benefits of smoking outside...

When you smoke inside your home, poisonous chemicals such as cyanide, carbon monoxide and formaldehyde and many others linger on everything. These toxins from the smoke can build up wherever smoking takes place, on carpets, kitchen surfaces, toys, bed linen, skin and furnishings.

Smoking campaign pic

This secondhand smoke is particularly dangerous for children.  This is because:

  • Children breathe faster, which means that they breathe in more toxins into their small lungs
  • More hand to mouth contact, which means that they ingest more chemicals
  • Children have under-developed immune systems, which protect them less than adults

Children who live in homes where adults smoke are more likely to suffer from:

  • Cot death (Sudden infant death syndrome)
  • Respiratory infections
  • Middle ear infections
  • Breathing problems e.g. asthma, wheeze

Some surprising facts

  • Over 80% of smoke is invisible
  • Tobacco smoke contains over 4000 chemicals
  • These chemicals include benzene, carbon monoxide, ammonia, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide to name just a few.
  • Chemicals can stay in furnishings, children’s toys, dust and bed linen long after the cigarette has been put out.  This can be up to months.
  • There are more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals in secondhand smoke.
  • Many people believe that they are protecting their children if they don’t smoke when they are present or if they lean out of a window.  Toxins from smoke are absorbed into materials around your home; these are then released back in the air which poses an additional risk.  We call this third hand smoke.

This means that if you want to protect your children you need to take the smoke right outside.

The good things about taking the smoke right outside:

  • you are protecting your children
  • you are protecting other non smoking adults in your home
  • you will enjoy a cleaner and fresher smelling home
  • you won’t have to worry about hidden poisons left behind.

Why not order a free Smoke Outside pack which will have more information and some ideas to help you keep the smoke outside of your home. 

Visit You can also visit or call 0300 421 0040

Background note

Smokefree South West, an organisation that aims to reduce the harms from smoking, developed a campaign to encourage people to take the smoke right outside of their home.  This was because in 2011 two out of ten adults in the south west (22%) still allowed people to smoke in their home.  Two years on, by 2013, there was a dramatic decrease with rates at 13%.  This equates to 400,000 adults now taking their smoke outside and protecting their children.