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HealthInfo Canterbury

Second-hand smoke

The smoke someone breathes out when they're having a cigarette, or that comes from the end of the cigarette, is called second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke is dangerous and contains just as many cancer-causing and dangerous substances as the smoke a smoker inhales. Around 350 New Zealanders die each year because they have breathed in second-hand smoke (this is also called passive smoking).

The good news is that if you stop smoking you will also stop exposing your family and whānau to second-hand smoke. If you're finding it hard to stop completely, you can still help by not smoking in your house or car.

You can read more information about the health effects of second-hand smoke on the Smokefree 2025 website.

On the next page: Protect your children from second-hand smoke

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Updated March 2017.

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Review key: HIBSF-16604