SHS and Children

What is Secondhand Smoke (SHS)?
Child LostSHS comes from a burning cigarette and contains over 7,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer including formaldehyde, arsenic, acetone, ammonia, lead and butane. According to the 2006 surgeon general’s report, there is no safe level of exposure to SHS. Breathing even a small amount is harmful to your health. Twenty-five percent of children in the U.S. live with a smoker and more than 300,000 children suffer each year from infections caused by tobacco smoke. Exposure to SHS can cause heart attacks and even death.

Children's exposure to secondhand smoke is involuntary. Due to their developing organs, immune systems and bodies, children are particularly susceptible to the harms of secondhand smoke. As the 2006 Surgeon General's report states, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Secondhand smoke exposure causes:

  • Weakened lung growth
  • Respiratory distress
  • Increased incidence of ear infections
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • More frequent and severe asthma attacks

Steps YOU Can Take

  • Choose not to smoke in your home or car and don't allow others to do so.
  • Choose to smoke outside and away from people especially children, who are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of SHS.
  • Do not allow babysitters, caregivers or others to smoke in your home or near your children.
  • Talk to your children's educators about keeping the places where your children spend time smoke-free and free of indoor allergens.
  • Remember if you smoke your child is also more likely to begin smoking. Take measures to quit by calling the FREE Colorado Quit Line at 1.800.QUIT.NOW.
  • Contact the American Lung Association in Colorado to set up a children's environmental intervention training for your school/center. For more information on the training click HERE or call 303-847-0279. 


Smokefree homes

When You Smoke Your Baby Smokes

When You Smoke Your Baby Smokes will explain to new parents the importance of giving their new baby a smoke free environment. Babies new lungs can be harmed by both second hand smoke that occurs when someone is smoking in the home and by third hand smoke that is on the clothes, furniture, cars and other places a person has smoked.

This 4 minute discussion of the harm from smoke and ways parents can protect their baby should be viewed by every parent in a smoker's household. These lessons are particularly important to the health of a baby born prematurely.

This lesson has been found to help mothers and fathers resist the urge to re-start smoking in the weeks and months following the birth of a baby.

When You Smoke Your Baby Smokes was written and developed for Dr. Allen Merritt, Neonatologist, at Loma Linda University Children's Hospital in Loma Linda, CA.

ONE Step Training: Using ONE Step and Asthma Education to Protect Children

The American Lung Association in Colorado’s (ALAC)  FREE ONE Step training will provide training and resources on asthma andSecondhand Smoke (SHS) to early childhood educators to equip them to educate parents, through health-focused messaging, about removing asthma triggers and environmental tobacco smoke from their homes.  This training educates Early Childhood Educators (ECE) about the basics of asthma management, including asthma triggers, and teaches them how to create an asthma program at their child care center, including reducing asthma triggers, while also teaching them about the harms of environmental tobacco smoke and how to speak to parents in a non-threatening, health-focused way about protecting their children from ETS.  Free resources include a toolkit to reference and use the information provided in the training. The toolkit and other free resources can be found on

Attendees will:

  • Receive 1.5 Continuing Education Credits!
  • Get FREE resources!!
  • Gain the knowledge and confidence to talk with parents about the harmful effects of Environmental Tobacco Smoke
  • Learn how to strengthen tobacco policies in their center/home or school
  • Learn how to encourage “no smoking” policies in air shared by children at any time in any place
  • Be given tips on how to discuss how to better care for children with asthma while also sharing important messages with parents about environmental triggers associated with their child’s asthma.

If you are a childcare provider or an early childhood educator and would like to learn more about a free training in your area around protecting children from environmental tobacco smoke and asthma please send us an email at