Common childhood illnesses & well-being
A parent's guide for children aged 0-4
Smokefree homes

Smokefree homes

Protecting your child's health

Secondhand smoke is made up of two types of smoke: mainstream (breathed in and out by smokers) and sidestream (smoke from the burning tip of a cigarette). Secondhand smoke is dangerous for children as they are growing up because:

  • Smoking near children is a cause of serious respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis and pneumonia.

  • Exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of children developing asthma and can cause asthma attacks.

  • Younger children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are much more likely to contract a serious respiratory infection that requires hospitalisation.

  • There is an increased risk of meningitis for children who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

  • Children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to get coughs and colds, as well as middle ear disease, which can cause deafness.

‘Step right out’ of your home to ensure it does not affect your children. Also, have a smokefree car at all times as exposure to the chemicals in secondhand smoke is increased in a confined space even with the windows open!

'Third-hand smoke' that lingers on things such as clothes, furnishings and carpet can be as dangerous to babies and children as secondhand smoke.

Make your home smokefree

  • Tell everyone in your house, and any visitors, that your home is now smokefree.

  • Keep a pair of slip-on shoes and other all-weather bits by your back door, so you can go out anytime.

  • Can’t make it outside? Nicotine replacement methods like patches and gum can help.

  • Consider using an electronic cigarette/vape.

  • If you smoke, or are exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy, it means that your baby shares chemicals from the smoke you breathe.

  • Keeping your home smokefree benefits your pets too.

Take 7 steps from your home

  • It can help improve the health of your children.

  • Your children won’t see you smoking, so might not be tempted to start.

  • It might cut down the number of cigarettes you smoke.

  • It keeps your home smelling and looking fresh.


Smoking anywhere near your children, like in the car, affects their health as well as yours.


Opening a window or standing by the door is not enough to protect children from the effects of smoking.


‘Step right out’ to ensure you are protecting your children.