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Smoke-Free Environments: Homes


Importance of Having a Smoke-Free Home

No amount of exposure to second-hand smoke is safe! This is why it is important to make your home smoke-free! Babies and children are especially at risk for developing illnesses related to second-hand smoke because their immune systems are less developed, they have smaller bodies and faster breathing rates than adults.  According to the 2013 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS), 3.9% of children between under the age of 17 were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke at home.   In New Brunswick, 35% of students in grades 4 and 5 live with someone who smokes.

Compared to children of non-smokers, children exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from:

  • coughing and wheezing
  • painful ear infections
  • asthma and other breathing problems
  • bronchitis, croup and pneumonia
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

Third-hand smoke, which is tobacco smoke contamination that remains behind after a cigarette is extinguished, is another potential health hazard in homes which allow smoking. This toxic residue clings to carpets, furniture, walls, clothing, hair, etc., long after smoking has stopped. Infants and children are especially at risk as they crawl on carpets and furniture and put things in their mouths. 

Also, pet owners beware! Cats and dogs also suffer from second-hand smoke effects just like people. According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, high frequency of smoking in the home increases the toxic load on a pet’s lungs. Nicotine is also very toxic when sudden exposure occurs. When eating cigarettes or butts, the pet can experience vomiting, depression, anxious behaviour, fast heart and breathing rates, tremors and seizures. Sometimes death occurs. 

New Brunswick Policies and Legislation

Smoke-Free Places Act
New Brunswick's Smoke-Free Places Act prohibits smoking and vaping tobacco, cannabis and all other substances in all enclosed public places, indoor workplaces, school grounds, as well as in vehicles when a person under the age of 16 is present. Many public outdoor settings also prohibit smoking and vaping as per the Act.

There is no prohibition concerning smoking in one’s private home or on one’s private property, so the decision not to smoke nor vape in one’s household is one we encourage every New Brunswicker to make for the health and safety of their family.

Cannabis Control Act
New Brunswick's Cannabis Control Act controls the consumption and use of retail cannabis. It establishes the legal age for the purchase, consumption and cultivation of cannabis at 19 and outlines general restrictions on consumption and possession. Under the Cannabis Control Act, the only legal place to consume retail cannabis in New Brunswick is in a private dwelling or in the land adjacent to the private dwelling (in your home or in your backyard). Consuming retail cannabis in public is prohibited. It is also illegal to consume cannabis in a vehicle and to drive under the influence of cannabis. Note that medical cannabis can be smoked or vaped in public anywhere not prohibited by the New Brunswick Smoke-free Places Act).


Second-hand and third-hand smoke - facts and statistics:

New Brunswick

Smoke-Free Housing Month (2016)
An infographic prepared by the NBATC

Smoke-Free Housing Month: Second-Hand Smoke and Children (2016)
An infographic prepared by the NBATC
(*Sources: 2013 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS), New Brunswick Anti-Tobacco Coalition - Susceptibility to Smoking Amongst Youth in New Brunswick, Health Canada - Dangers of Second-Hand Smoke, Pediatrics - School Absenteeism Amongst Children Who Live With Smokers.)

Multi-Unit Dwellings and Second-Hand Smoke (2016)
An infographic prepared by the NBATC 

What Is Third-Hand Smoke? (2016)
An infographic prepared by the NBATC 
(PDF Format, PNG Format)

Third-Hand Smoke (2017)
An infographic prepared by the NBATC 
(PDF Format, PNG format)

Second-Hand Smoke Affects Them Too. Your Beloved Pet is Another Reason to Live Tobacco-Free! (2017)
(PDF format, PNG format)
An infographic prepared by the NBATC 

New Brunswick Student Wellness Survey Kindergarten to Grade 5: Social Relationships and Environments (2013-2014)  
(Page 3 discusses exposure to second-hand smoke at home and rules around smoking at home and in vehicles.)

New Brunswick Student Wellness Survey Grades 6 to 12: Tobacco and Other Substance Use (2012-2013)

Join the Wellness Movement
Encourages communities, groups, schools and workplaces to make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, including Tobacco-Free Living. An important part of Living Tobacco Free is avoiding exposure to second- and third-hand smoke.  Check out for more information and to make your commitment to keep your home tobacco-free.


Live Free of Second-Hand Smoke - Tips for Home, Your Car, Work and Outdoors - Canadian Cancer Society (2014)

Exposure to second-hand smoke at home, 2012 – Statistics Canada

Second-Hand Smoke: Healthy Canadians You Tube Video

Government of Canada: Dangers of second-hand smoke

Third-Hand Smoke: An Emerging Issue
(Non-Smokers’ Rights Association)

Second- and Third- Hand Smoke 
(Ontario Tobacco Research Unit Reading List)

Let’s Talk About ...Second-Hand and Third-Hand Tobacco Smoke
(Nov 2013, Alberta Health Services)

Ontario Tobacco Research Unit's (OTRU) On-line Course
This course is comprised of four modules including one on protection which examines current information on second-hand smoke, how it affects people’s health, and what is happening in Canada to create smoke-free environments.

Putting Third-Hand Smoke on the Policy and Research Agenda - OTRU Workshop Speaker Presentations
On May 3, 2012, OTRU held a workshop with a panel of international experts to discuss the emerging issue of Third Hand Smoke, what it is, how are we exposed, how to measure it and what this means to tobacco control and Canadian policy.

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association - "Second-hand smoke gets into your eyes" (and lungs): Second-hand smoke.
Facts about the negative effects of second-hand smoke exposure among domestic animas. 


International - USA

Second-Hand Smoke: The impact on children - March 2014
(Action on Smoking and Health, UK)

The Tobacco Atlas: Second-Hand Smoke


Making your home and car smoke-free:


Make Your Home and Car Smoke-Free – Health Canada
This guide is intended to help families reduce the risks of second-hand smoke in their homes and cars. If you are a smoker, you may have heard that second-hand smoke is harmful to your family, but you may not be aware of the extent of harm it could cause. This guide will give you practical tips about what you can do to eliminate the harm caused by breathing in second-hand smoke in your home and car.

Make your Home Smoke-free in a Multi-Unit Residence – Health Canada
If you live in a multi-unit residence, you may still be exposed to tobacco smoke entering your home from neighbouring units. This guide is intended to help you protect your family from second-hand smoke in a multi-unit dwelling.

Make your Home and Car Smoke-free: Information for Youth – Health Canada
Are you concerned that your parents smoke inside your home or family car? This guide is intended to help you get rid of second-hand smoke in your home and car by giving you tips to get your family on-board.