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Join the movement! You can play an active part in achieving the first tobacco-free generation by adopting a no-tobacco […]

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Unmask the Murderer of the Century! Register your group of teens for an activity meant to guess the identity of the murderer of the century and the weapon used to commit the crime.

What? Using hints and compelling staging, teens are invited to identify the murderer of the century and the traps that […]

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Second- and Third-hand Smoke

A danger to everyone

Second-hand smoke is the smoke released during the combustion of tobacco products (cigarettes, pipes, cigars) and when the smoker exhales. This smoke is not only harmful, but it’s also dangerous!

Second-hand smoke contains no fewer than 7,000 chemical products, more than 70 of which are carcinogenic. Worse still, second-hand smoke has at least three times more tar, carbon monoxide and nicotine than the smoke directly inhaled by smokers, and 40 times more ammonia!

An ever-present danger

Two-thirds of cigarette smoke is released into the environment.

This smoke affects anyone who breathes it in, whether it is released into a closed space (house, car, etc.) or an open space (terrace, park, etc.).

Outdoors, the smoke from just one cigarette can be detected at a distance of seven to 10 metres, depending on wind direction and speed.

In a confined space such as a closed room or the cab of a car, the concentration of harmful chemical substances from second-hand smoke is considerably higher. In a car, it is 27 times higher than it is in an open environment!

Contrary to popular belief, ventilation systems do not completely filter out second-hand smoke. It can take several hours for the smoke from a single cigarette to dissipate.

Even the cigarettes that aren’t smoked are dangerous… By breathing in airborne tobacco smoke, non-smokers become passive smokers of sorts.

A danger to others

The risk of developing cancer due to exposure to second-hand smoke is 57 times higher than the risk posed by all the pollutants in the atmosphere.

Every year in Canada, second-hand smoke leads to the death of more than 800 non-smokers. In Québec, more than 200 non-smokers die annually of lung cancer or heart disease caused by exposure to second-hand smoke.

Close to 150,000 Canadian children under 12 are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.

In Québec, 7.2% of children aged 0–11 are exposed to second-hand smoke.

Children are more vulnerable to second-hand smoke, because they breathe more rapidly than adults and therefore absorb more smoke.

When exposed to second-hand smoke, they are also more likely to experience health problems, such as lung infections, ear infections, chronic cough, and respiratory problems.

Even pets can be affected by second-hand smoke. They become more susceptible to developing cancer, such as nose cancer, as well as other health problems.

And what about third-hand smoke?

The toxic substances in second-hand smoke are dispersed into the air, adhering to clothes, carpets, walls and objects. They build up over time, whenever a cigarette is smoked.

This third-hand smoke subsists for days, even months, after the smoker butts out his or her cigarette, cigar or pipe. It contains the same contaminants and is every bit as harmful as second-hand smoke.

Babies ingest more harmful substances from third-hand smoke, since they breathe more rapidly and spend time playing on the floor.

The combination of second- and third-hand smoke causes a person to give off the smell of smoke after they’ve been around smokers.

Are we protected?

In Québec, smoking in public places and workplaces is regulated under the Tobacco Act. It is forbidden to smoke in the majority of indoor public spaces and workplaces as well as within nine metres of a health establishment, school, daycare or youth centre.

Smoking is permitted in most outdoor public spaces (parks, beaches, sports fields, playgrounds, outdoor terraces) and near the doors of public buildings (shopping centres, pharmacies, office towers, etc.), including those frequented by teens (libraries, swimming pools, arenas, etc.).

Given that second-hand smoke disperses into the air, how can we truly be protected?

Want to bring about change? Here are some ideas sure to inspire you

Want to put your ideas into action? See how you can by joining the movement!

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