Breathing in second-hand smoke causes over 1,000 deaths in Canadian non-smokers from lung cancer and heart disease every year. In 2003, almost one sixth (14%) of Canadian homes with children under 12 years old reported their children were exposed to second-hand smoke from cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Although this number is dropping, it still means that about 600,000 children under age 12 continue to be exposed regularly to second-hand smoke.
The good news is that most Canadian families agree they should avoid exposure to second-hand smoke in their home and car. Currently, four out of five (82%) Canadian homes already restrict smoking in some way and parents report there is general agreement about these restrictions among family members. Parents also report that the primary reason they want to cut back on the amount of second-hand smoke in their home is because of their children.
What do these statistics mean to you as a parent? Well, for one thing, they mean that you are not alone. Across Canada, hundreds of thousands of families are struggling with the issue of secondhand smoke and are looking for ways to protect their children from its harmful effects. This guide has been developed to give families the tools they need to make their home and car smoke-free.