What is second-hand smoke?

Second-hand smoke (or sometimes environmental tobacco smoke, involuntary smoking or passive smoking) is the term used to describe the gases and particles in the air that result from smoking tobacco.

The smoke that's given off by the burning tip of a cigarette is actually much more toxic than the smoke inhaled (through the filter) by the smoker.

Breathing in second-hand cigarette smoke at home, at work or in a bar can have short-term effects, like irritating your eyes, or giving you a sore throat or a cough, but the long-term effects of second-hand smoking are much more dangerous.

Regular passive smoking can increase your risk of:

  • lung cancer by 20-30%;
  • heart disease by 25-35%;
  • asthma by 40-60%;
  • stroke by 80%.

Copyright © 2013 Public Health Agency. Designed and produced by the Public Health Agency.