A Tobacco Control Policy & Legal Resource Center
Supporting Smokefree Air & Tobacco-Free Lives
Smokefree Homes & Vehicles
Smokefree housing protects children and all residents from tobacco smoke exposure. The CDC has concluded that ventilation systems are ineffective against secondhand smoke. Visit the CDC’s webpage “Ventilation Does Not Effectively Protect Nonsmokers from Secondhand Smoke.” Read a CDC fact sheet on smoking in vehicles with children. Visit our Smokefree Multi-Unit Housing section for more information on the need for 100% smokefree multi-unit housing policies.
Secondhand smoke exposure can also be a consideration by courts in child custody decisions. Read a February 2012 news article in the Washington Times about this growing trend. New Jersey Family Courts are required to review a checklist when determining child custody and visitation to determine what is “in the best interest of the child”. One category on that checklist concerns the health and welfare of the child, stating that a court may consider the effects of environmental tobacco smoke in custody determinations.
Read more in GASP’s white paper entitled “Smoke-free Vehicles When Children Are Present“. Read a 2011 publication by the Public Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota “Kids, Cars and Cigarettes: A Brief Look at Policy Options for Smoke-free Vehicles“. Read a British Medical Association policy briefing paper which outlines the reasons why smoking in private vehicles should be banned to protect passengers, and especially children, from the effects of secondhand smoke.
Below are a number of videos regarding the dangers of smoking in cars with children:
- This video is from the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services (NebraskaDHHS)
- This video is from Australia’s Cancer Council Northern Territory (CCNT)
- This video is from the UK’s Department of Health
- This video is from the California Department of Health Services
Also, review our white paper entitled “Protecting Foster/Resource Family Children From Secondhand Smoke in Homes and Cars, which discusses that New Jersey requires all homes and cars used by resource family children to be 100% smokefree.
Visit our page Tobacco and Pets to read about the health risks to pets from tobacco exposure.
GASP Presentations on Smokefree Housing
In addition, GASP gives presentations on the benefits of smokefree policies for homes and cars, at international, national and state conferences. Here is a sample of presentations (more are in our library):
- Green Initiatives: Smokefree Trends in Multi-Unit Housing, National Healthy Housing Conference, New Orleans, LA, April 28, 2010.
- Protecting Children from Secondhand Smoke in Nontraditional Venues: Children in Vehicles and Foster Care, National Conference on Tobacco or Health, Phoenix, AZ, June 10, 2009.
- Legal Issues: ETS Exposure in Multi-Unit Housing, 11th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, Copenhagen, Denmark, August 21, 2008.
- Emerging Issue: Smokefree Homes and Cars for Children, 4th European Conference on Tobacco or Health, Basil, Switzerland, October 12, 2007.
Children on Portable Oxygen need 100% Smokefree Environments
Children who have medical ailments and diseases may be required to use portable oxygen. Any person on portable oxygen should not be in a home where smoking takes place. Creating 100% smokefree policies reduces the risk of fire in multi-unit buildings, especially in buildings that house tenants using medical oxygen for health reasons (seniors and children with asthma, COPD, etc). A tenant on portable oxygen needs a 100% smokefree living environment, and this may include not only their apartment, but neighboring apartments as well. Read about the hazards of smoking near the operation of portable oxygen equipment.
Newsweek Letter-to-the-Editor supporting smokefree HUD housing
Read a July 13, 2009 Newsweek magazine Letter to the Editor written by Dr. Jonathan Winikoff, highlighting how HUD public housing should be required to be 100% smokefree, which would greatly benefit children’s health.
Hazardous Exposure to Third-hand Smoke
Thirdhand smoke is beginning to be recognized as a health hazard. Thirdhand smoke is residual secondhand smoke that imbeds into upholstery, rugs, and onto walls, and other surfaces, lingering for weeks. New studies indicate that thirdhand smoke may be more dangerous than secondhand smoke, since thirdhand smoke does not dissipate quickly, and continuously emits respirable particles long after secondhand smoke takes place. Learn more in our Third-hand smoke section about the public health concerns with thirdhand smoke, especially for young children.