The children of smokers, compared to children of nonsmoking parents, have an increased number of respiratory disorders, are sick more often and miss more days of school. The Centers for Disease Control conservatively attributes 3,825 deaths in 1988 to passive smoking A report sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency concluded that environmental smoke kills 53,000 nonsmokers a year, including 37,000 from heart disease ("Secondhand") (Schwartz JL, 1989).
Canadians are most likely to identify lung cancer and bronchitis and other respiratory problems as diseases associated with second-hand smoke. Smokers and those who live with smokers are less likely to acknowledge the health effects of smoking.
Only 1 in 5 Canadians surveyed believed that second-hand smoke could cause ear infections. Even among those who know that second-hand smoke poses a danger, many mistakenly believe that children's health is only harmed by smoking directly around them. [Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Knowledge, Attitudes and Actions of Parents, Children and Child Care Providers, Health Canada, 1995]. http://www.smoke-free.ca/Second-Hand-Smoke/health_kids.htm
Almost half of all Canadian children under the age of...
Almost half of all Canadian children under the age of 15, some 2.8 million children, are exposed to second-hand smoke on a regular basis. [Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health on second reading debate of Bill C-24, June 6, 1996].
Four in 10 Canadian households include someone who regularly smokes in the home. Neither the presence of children nor their age affects whether or not homes are kept smoke-free.
A further 40% of Canadian homes have no regular smoker living there, but permit visitors to smoke in their home. Only 19% of Canadian homes are smoke-free.
[Survey on Smoking in Canada 1994-95, Cycle 2] http://www.smoke-free.ca/Second-Hand-Smoke/health_kids.htm
In smoker's homes, an average of 18 cigarettes a day is smoked. In only 1 in 5 of these households are cigarettes not smoked directly in front of children.
Smokers are more likely to have mainly smokers in their social circle, and their children are more likely to be in contact with these smoking friends and relatives than are the children of non-smokers. [An Assessment of Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices Concerning Environmental Tobacco Smoke, 1995 - Ekos Research Associates] http://www.smoke-free.ca/Second-Hand-Smoke/health_kids.htm
Thus, there is no doubt that tobacco smoking is harmful to the smoker. Evidence also indicates that maternal smoking during pregnancy has adverse effects on fetal development. It is now apparent that 'passive' or 'involuntary' smoking also has harmful effects. This involves non-smokers being exposed to the smoke from cigarettes or other tobacco products smoked by other people. In 1987 the Independent Scientific Committee on Smoking and Health produced a statement to the effect that