Stopping The Secondhand Smoke Blues

I recently traveled to a large city and while there I tried to take it all in – the food, sightseeing attractions, and the people. Unfortunately another thing I took in while visiting was all of the secondhand smoke on the crowded streets. At first, I didn’t realize the number of people smoking until I got back to my room and still smelled smoke. My clothes and hair had utterly absorbed it! Now you’re probably thinking that because I’m from Indiana and a smaller city than most, I wouldn’t really have a clue what big cities and people smoking all the time would be like. And while that has been true, I also find that here in Washington, D.C., I don’t really have a problem breathing fresh air either. So it truly was a surprise to me to experience such a ‘smoky’ city. I also grew up in a household where my parents did not smoke. I think that this is one of the greatest gifts I have been given by my parents and in doing so, they raised me not to smoke either. Not that I would have had any say in the matter as a child, but growing up in a smoke free household was a gift to my health and overall well-being. For this reason, smoke free homes are essential for children today. While you can’t really avoid secondhand smoke walking on the street in public, it makes it even more essential to have a house that children can go home to where they can easily breathe. Children spend the majority of their time at home and therefore it is extremely important to have a smoke free home. Children’s bodies aren’t as developed and their lungs can be brutally affected by exposure to second hand smoke. They have higher breathing rates than adults and have little control over their indoor environments. Choosing not to smoke in your house will reduce the risk of children getting sick with coughs, breathing problems like asthma, and developing ear infections. In honor of Children’s Health Month, you can take a pledge to make your home and your car smoke-free and get your very own pledge certificate. You can also read helpful information and read more about health effects. By making your home smoke free your children will thank you for it later! And you can be proud of yourself as well!

About the Author: Emily Bruckmann is an intern at the Office of Children’s Health Protection. She is a senior attending Indiana University who will graduate with a degree in public health this spring.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.