take a stand against secondhand smoke 

Take a Stand Against Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand Smoke Is Dangerous

Secondhand smoke is a combination of the smoke a person breathes out while smoking and the smoke from the burning tobacco product. It contains thousands of chemicals, including hundreds of toxic chemicals and over 60 cancer-causing chemicals. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe exposure level to secondhand smoke.

Outdoor Secondhand Smoke

Exposure to secondhand smoke outdoors can be dangerous and unhealthy, especially for children, people with other health concerns, and pets. Several studies have demonstrated that exposure to secondhand smoke outside can, in some situations, reach exposure levels comparable to indoor exposure. To learn more about current research, visit Americans for Nonsmokers Rights.

Take a Stand

You can help protect yourself and your loved ones from secondhand smoke by:

  • Telling property managers or landlords if you are being affected by second hand smoke in your residence.
  • Talking with smokers about the dangers that secondhand smoke poses to others.
  • Contacting us to learn more or get help.

Have a Conversation

Asking someone who is smoking near you to change is not easy. Let smokers know that you're not objecting to the fact that they smoke but that you prefer they not smoke near you. Be firm but polite; how you say the message is as important as the message itself.

Family or Loved One

If you have family or loved ones who smoke around you:

  • Acknowledge that quitting smoking is hard.
  • Tell them you're concerned about secondhand smoke and how it hurts people’s health, including yours.
  • Keep the conversation polite and cool. You’ll get better results from a discussion than an argument.
  • Ask them not to smoke in the car:
    • Even with a window open, as smoke can get trapped inside the car.
    • Suggest "smoke stops" for smokers.
  • Help them to quit
    • Offer to go for walks with them when they feel a craving coming on or buy them sugar-free gum to chew instead of smoking
    • Share the Colorado Quitline number (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and website with them.
    • Ask them what you can do to be supportive

Conversation Starters

"(Name), I know it's hard to stop smoking, but I also know you care about my health. Do you think you would be able to smoke outside from now on? I don't want to hurt your feelings, but this is really important to me."

"(Name), when you light up, I can go out, but my little sister is breathing your smoke, and it is really bad for her lungs. She can't ask you to smoke outside, but I will. If you must smoke, please don't do it around the younger ones."

"Breathing in tobacco smoke in small space like a car is really bad for my health/asthma/cough. Please don't smoke when we are in the car. You could have a smoke when we stop for breaks. Thanks."

In Public Non-Smoking Places

In a public place it may be uncomfortable to speak up. It may be safer to move away from the smoke if the person seems angry or upset. If you are in a non-smoking area:

  • Tell a person with authority (e.g. manager) that someone is smoking near you.
  • Tell the smoker you need to be away from smoke. Be specific about how secondhand smoke affects you.

What to Say

"Could I ask you not to smoke, as the smoke tends to make me sick (or affects my allergies, contact lenses, throat, asthma)."

"You might not realize it, but this is a no-smoking area. Thank you for not smoking here."

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 Related Links


Tobacco Education & Prevention Program (TEPP)

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