Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the combination of smoke from the burning end of a cigarette and the smoke breathed out by smokers. Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic and about 70 can cause cancer.

Want to learn more about secondhand smoke in Butte County? Please, contact us!

Find Smoke Free Housing in Butte County (PDF).

Secondhand Smoke & Your Health

Health Effects in Children

  • Ear infections
  • More frequent and severe asthma attacks
  • Respiratory symptoms (for example: coughing, sneezing, and shortness of breath)
  • Respiratory infections (bronchitis and pneumonia)

Health Effects in Adults

  • Heart disease - for nonsmokers, breathing in secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the heart and blood vessels
  • Lung cancer
  • Stroke

Secondhand Smoke & Your Pets

  • Pets who are around secondhand smoke are put at risk for cancer each time a cigarette is lit
  • Cats exposed to secondhand smoke more than double their risk of lymphoma, the most common cancer of cats
  • Cats don't just breathe in secondhand smoke toxins, they also lick them off their fur as they groom themselves, raising their chance of getting oral cancer
  • Cancer causing chemicals can be found in dogs' hair and urine months after exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Warning signs of cancer in dogs are coughing, weight loss, and fatigue; nasal cancer can cause swelling, sneezing, and bloody discharge from the nose
  • Birds have very sensitive respiratory systems; they are more likely to get pneumonia and lung cancer when they are exposed to tobacco smoke

Pets can also get very red, watery eyes and skin allergies from cigarette smoke.

Reduce Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

If you smoke:

  • Think seriously about quitting
  • Call 800-784-8669 (800-QUIT-NOW) or a local support group for help
  • Never smoke in your home or car, or where children play

If you aren't ready to quit, go outside to smoke:

  • Wear a shirt or jacket that you can leave outside after you smoke
  • Wash your hands right away
  • Bathe, wash clothes and clean carpets and drapes often

If you don't smoke:

  • Don't allow smoking in your home or car
  • Make sure childcare workers and babysitters are nonsmokers
  • If your relatives or friends smoke, ask them to wash their hands and put on smoke-free clothing before holding your baby
  • Try to keep your children out of the homes of smokers - meet at a smoke-free place instead

Until you quit smoking, please dispose of your cigarette butts in a proper container.

Smoke-Free Housing Protects Everyone's Health

You have the right to breathe smoke-free air where you live and play. In apartments and other multi-unit housing, secondhand smoke can drift from one unit to another. It can come through windows, doorways and vents. Whether you are a resident, building manager or owner, you can take steps to make your building smoke-free.

  • Secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer, heart disease and other serious health problems
  • In children, it may cause infections or bronchitis and it can make asthma worse too
  • Pregnant women can get sick from this smoke too. The baby may be born premature or with a low birth weight
  • Smoking is the leading cause of fire deaths. Living in smoke-free housing lowers the risk of fire
  • View the FAQs About Tobacco Use Within Multi-unit Housing (PNG)

Be patient. Making your building smoke-free can take time, but it is worth the effort!


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