Passive smoking

Passive smoking is the involuntary inhalation of smoke released by other smokers. The risks of passive smoking are less in comparison to those who actively smoke, however, harm can still be done.

  • Passive smoking is a form of domestic pollution and possibly the most harmful.
  • In the UK, passive smoking is estimated to be responsible for 3000 deaths in people aged 20 - 65 and 8000 deaths in those over 65 years of age.
  • The effects of passive smoking on our health depends on the duration and the intensity of exposure to the smoke. The effects are the same as for a smoker - mainly cancer, deterioration of lung function and heart disease.
  • Passive smoking increases the risk of having a heart attack by 50%

The Effects of Passive smoking on Children

  • Cot death is more likely.
  • Children exposed to passive smoking are more likely to suffer with ear, nose, throat and asthma problems,
  • Children when exposed to passive smoking are more likely to become a smoker themselves when older.
  • Chronic lung conditions and cancer are more likely when older.

A non-smoker living with a smoker

  • Increases the risk of a cardiac incident by 25% .
  • Increases the risk of developing lung cancer by 25% .
  • Are twice as likely to have a stroke (CVA).

No-smoking policies in public places has had a direct impact on reducing the emergency admissions for heart attack threats in Italy by 11% and by 17% in Scotland.

Good news

On the 1st July 2007 the UK banned smoking in public places since then we have seen:
  • A drop of 2.4% in emergency hospital admissions for heart attack admissions.
  • There has been 100% compliance with the law
  • There was a 5.5% decline in smoking after the ban with approximately 400,000 quitting as a result of the ban.

A campaign to protect the children from passive smoking

The International Union Against Cancer (UICC) launched in February 2008 a campaign aimed at protecting children from passive smoking. It is estimated that some 700 million children, "almost half of the world's youth", are subjected to passive smoking.

The main objective of this campaign is to promote a more responsible attitude from smokers lighting up in confined spaces, such as at home or in the car and in the presence of children .
(Sources Relax News)

Under the slogan "I love my smoke-free childhood", associations send seven advisory messages to parents, with the aim to protect their children.

Seven messages to fight against passive smoking (UICC) :
  • Avoid smoking at home or in the car
  • Warn your children to move away from passive smoke
  • Tell them that there is no exposure to smoke without danger
  • Do not smoke during a pregnancy or near a pregnant woman
  • Make nurseries smoke-free places
  • If you smoke, ask your doctor how to stop
  • Become a model for your children: do not smoke

BEFORE ANY SURGICAL OPERATION. Smoking increasing the risk of postoperative complications including cardiac, respiratory and deep vien thrombosis problems and also wound healing. It is advised to reduce stop smoking or considerably cut down 6 weeks before the operation, which will help reduce the complications related to smoking.

Ask a question
CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jean-François Pillou, founder of CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.


This document, titled « Passive smoking », is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM Health (