Your home and your lungs

Tobacco smoke in your home

Smoking is the main cause of preventable illness and preventable death.

Second-hand tobacco smoke is also bad for our health. This is why recent laws have banned smoking in enclosed public spaces, including public transport and workplaces, and in cars with children.

If anyone smokes in your home, tiny particles from tobacco smoke can drift all through your house. These particles can remain at harmful levels for up to five hours.

Effects of tobacco smoke

If you breathe in this smoke, your nose or throat can get irritated and you might cough or have trouble breathing.

If you have asthma, your symptoms are likely to get worse. And if you have COPD, you are more likely to have a flare-up. In the long term, your risk of getting lung cancer is also increased.

Children are particularly at risk. Breathing in tobacco smoke affects how their lungs work and makes them more likely to develop a long-term lung condition when they grow up.

What can I do about tobacco smoke in my home?

  • Don’t smoke indoors, and don’t allow others to smoke in your home. Make sure anyone looking after your children does not smoke when they are with them.
  • If you smoke at home, smoke outside and close the door behind you.
  • If you smoke, the most important thing you can do to improve your health is to quit.  
Download this information (275KB, PDF)

Last medically reviewed: September 2015. Due for review: September 2018

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.