Secondhand Smoke in Cars
Secondhand Smoke (SHS) in Cars is Dangerous for Children
SHS in a vehicle can be more toxic than other types of exposure because of the smaller space which essentially traps dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and particulate matter in the car. [i] , [ii]
The air quality in a car where someone is smoking can reach nearly 10 times the worst outdoor air pollution measured by the Environmental Protection Agency.[iii]
Opening a car window does not clear the air sufficiently to reduce dangerous levels of SHS.[iv] , [v]
The gases and particles in tobacco smoke stay on the upholstery and other surfaces inside a car. This exposes passengers to toxins long after active smoking occurred in the car.[vi]
Breathing SHS in a Car Causes Health Problems for Children
There is no risk-free level of SHS exposure. Even brief exposure can be dangerous. Over 7,000 chemicals are found in a single puff of smoke, including more than 70 carcinogens. [vii] , [viii]
SHS causes ear problems, acute respiratory infections, and wheezing in children,
Breathing SHS can slow a child’s lung growth, and make asthma more severe. SHS can also cause eye irritation, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. [ix] , [x]
SHS exposure puts children at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). [xi]
SHS puts children and adults at an increased risk for developing heart disease and lung cancer. 7, 8, [xii]
Protect Children from SHS
- Do not smoke in the car with children or other passengers.
- Make a rule that smoking is not allowed inside your car.[xiii]
- Be polite, but firm. Thank your friends and family for helping you keep your car smoke free.
[i] W. Ott, N. Klepeis, and P. Switzer, Air Change Rates of Motor Vehicles and In-Vehicle Pollutant Concentrations from Secondhand Smoke. Journal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology, 2007
[ii] Sendzik, T., Fong, G.T., Travers, M.J., & Hyland, A. “An experimental investigation of tobacco smoke pollution in cars”. Nicotine & Tobacco Research 2009 11(6):627-634; doi:10.1093/ntr/ntp019.Sendzik, T, et al., “An experimental investigation of tobacco smoke pollution in cars,” Toronto, ON: Ontario tobacco Research Unit, March 2008.
[iii] Sendzik, T, et al., “An experimental investigation of tobacco smoke pollution in cars,” Toronto, ON: Ontario tobacco Research Unit, March 2008.
[iv] Edwards R, et al., “Highly hazardous air quality associated with smoking in cars: New Zealand pilot study,” The New Zealand Medical Journal 119(1244), October 2006.
[v] Sendzik T, Fong G, Travers M, Hyland A, “The hazard of tobacco smoke pollution in cars: evidence from an air quality monitoring study,” 13th World Conference on Tobacco or Health; 2006 July 12th-15th; Washington DC
[vi] Matt GE, Quintana PJE, Hovell MF, Bernert JT, Song S, Novianti N, Juarez T, Floro J, Gehrman C, Garcia M, Larson S. “Households contaminated by environmental tobacco smoke: sources of infant exposures,” Tobacco Control 12(1): 29-37, March 2004.
[vii] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke: A Report of the Surgeon General.” 2006
[viii] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease: A Report of the Surgeon General.” Atlanta, GA: 2010.
[ix] United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders. Office of Research and Development, EPA/600/6-90/006F, Washington, D.C., December 1992. 8-13. Also published at National Institutes of Health.
[x] National Cancer Institute. Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders: The Report of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Smoking and Tobacco Control Monograph Number 4. NIH Publication No. 93-3605, Washington, D.C., August 1993. http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/tcrb/nci_monographs/MONO10/MONO10.HTM.
[xi] Mitchell EA, Milerad J. “Smoking and the sudden infant death syndrome.” Reviews on Environmental Health, 2006 Apr-Jun; 21(2):81-103. Department of Paediatrics, University of Auckland, New Zealand.
[xii] American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Environmental Health, “Environmental Tobacco Smoke: A Hazard to Children”, Pediatrics 99(4), April 1997.
[xiii] Kegler, MC, et al., “A qualitative study on establishing and enforcing smoking rules in family cars,” Nicotine and Tobacco Research 10(9): 1467-1475, September, 2008.
- SHS at Home
- SHS in Apartments and Condominiums
- SHS at Work
- SHS Outdoors
- SHS in Cars
- Smokefree Policies
- SHS Laws in Utah
- Reporting Violations of the Utah Indoor Clean Air Act
- Thirdhand Smoke