Secondhand Smoke

There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.
In Maine, almost 45,000 children under the age of 18 live in a home with a smoker.
Children running outside on a hilltop.
 A child’s body is still growing, so the chemicals in tobacco smoke are especially dangerous to them.
Children who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to develop:
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Ear infections
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Exposure to secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable death in this country - Smoking is the first.
Secondhand smoke is a complex mixture of gases and particulates containing as many as 4800 chemicals including formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, nicotine, carcinogenic tars and others.
Chemicals found in cigarettes.
Of the chemicals identified in secondhand smoke, more than 50 have been found to cause cancer.
Third hand smoke is the lingering smell and residue of chemicals that smoking leaves on carpeting, clothing, hair and furniture. Third hand smoke contains dangerous chemical cancer-causing agents
It’s about the smoke, not the smoker.
  • There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.
  • If you live with children or non-smokers, smoke outside! 
  • Don’t smoke in your vehicle if you have children- Even if you smoke when they are not in the car, dangerous third hand smoke lingers. 
  • Never permit smokers to smoke in your home or vehicle.
  • If you are outdoors and someone is smoking nearby, ask them if they could move or put out their cigarette. 
  • Talk to your employer about their tobacco policy to ensure that it adequately protects employees from secondhand smoke exposure. 
  • Talk to your town officials about prohibiting tobacco use in or near public places such as public buildings, parks and recreation areas.  


 Maine works hard to protect residents from secondhand smoke!
Business people at work.      Family of four in car.      Man and boy overlooking lake with arms open wide.
  • It is illegal to smoke in a vehicle with children under the age of 16 present. 
  • Maine Schools have a written policy prohibiting smoking in any school building, property or vehicle. 
  • Smoking is prohibited in state parks. 
  • Smoking is banned in outdoor eating areas of restaurants, snack-shacks and any other outdoor area where food is served. 
  • Employers are required to have a written smoke-free policy that protects employers from secondhand smoke exposure in any worksite buildings and vehicles. Additionally, new regulations require smokers to be at least 20 ft. from doors, windows and vents. 
Information and Resources: