Frequent Questions

What is EPA's position on children's exposure to secondhand smoke?

EPA's position is that exposure to environmental tobacco smoke increases the health risks for children particularly pre-school and those under the age of six.  EPA encourages that until a person can quit, especially parents and caregivers, they should go outside to protect their children.  In other words, even if the parents and/or caregivers choose to smoke, they should choose to not smoke (or allow others to smoke) in the home or car.  Consequently, EPA's activities are designed to raise awareness among smokers not to smoke around children or allow others to do so. Activities also include encouraging people, smokers and non-smokers, to maintain a smoke-free home and car for their children. Environmental tobacco smoke exposure is particularly harmful to children, causing more inner ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, wheezing and coughing spells, and more frequent and severe asthma attacks.  The U.S. Surgeon General has found that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Read more about EPA's Smoke-free Homes Program at

Read about EPA's Asthma and Indoor Environments Program at

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