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You’ve probably heard for years that smoking is bad for your health – and that’s true! But what you may not know is that your smoking also hurts your loved ones. Quitting is not only good for you, it can also help protect who you love in three main ways:

Secondhand smoke hurts people and pets.
The biggest way smoking hurts people who don’t smoke is through contact with secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is the chemicals in the air that come from a lit cigarette and the smoke breathed out by a smoker. When someone breathes secondhand smoke, they’re breathing in the same toxins as the person who is smoking.
Secondhand smoke is dangerous. It can trigger heart attacks and even cause lung cancer in people who have never smoked. Kids who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to get sick with pneumonia and ear infections, and babies are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Even dogs and cats are at risk – they’re twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes.
The best way to protect your loved ones from secondhand smoke is to quit smoking.
Thirdhand smoke puts your home at risk.
Most people know about the dangers of secondhand smoke, but what about thirdhand smoke? Thirdhand smoke is the leftover nicotine and other chemicals that stay on surfaces after someone smokes. These toxins stick to carpets, walls, clothes, the interior of your car, and even your hair and kids’ toys. Thirdhand smoke is in your home long after the smoke clears, and you can’t get rid of it by opening windows or using fans.
Thirdhand smoke causes carcinogens, which are chemicals that cause cancer. Babies and pets are at particularly high risk because they spend so much time near the floor, where a lot of thirdhand smoke settles. Young children are in extra danger because they like to put toys and other objects in their mouths, which can mean more exposure to the toxic residue from thirdhand smoke.  
Your loved ones want more quality time with you.
Your smoking doesn’t only affect your loved ones’ physical health. Since they love you and they know smoking is dangerous, your family and friends are probably worried about what smoking is doing to your lungs or heart. What’s more, when you smoke, you may miss out on:

  • Having more money to spend on the people you love. Most Kentuckians who quit smoking will save thousands of dollars each year by not buying cigarettes!
  • Helping your kids have a healthier future, since children raised by smokers are more likely to become smokers themselves.
  • Having more birthdays, holidays, and special memories with your family. Quitting smoking can add ten years to your life!
The earlier you quit, the bigger the benefits for yourself and for your loved ones – but it’s never too late to give them a happier, healthier home and life. 

Cigarette smoking causes 1 in every 5 deaths each year. Tobacco harms every organ in the body and is the #1 cause of preventable death in the United States. On average, tobacco use takes away 10 years of life by raising the risk of these serious health conditions:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Several types of cancer including cancer of the lung, throat, mouth, esophagus, pancreas, bladder, and cervix and leukemia
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic bronchitis
Tobacco smoke also affects and worsens many other diseases such as diabetes, vascular disease, and osteoporosis. It can contribute to these other problems:
  • Gum and tooth disease
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Reduced ability to taste food and drinks
  • Wrinkles
  • Yellow teeth

Tobacco’s Effects on Others

Tobacco doesn’t just affect the person who chooses to use it. Smoking can be dangerous to the people and pets around you. People who live in or around your cigarette smoke, even just occasionally, could suffer in these ways:
  • They have an increased risk of lung cancer.
  • Children near you are more likely to have sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, lung problems, and ear infections.
  • Unborn babies are more likely to be born early and at a low birth weight. They are more likely to have birth defects including cleft palate and other health problems.
  • Pets have increased risks of cancers when they breathe in secondhand smoke, or when they lick smoke particles that stick to their fur.
There are many reasons to quit tobacco and the Quitline can help you start your quit journey off right. We’ll help you identify how quitting tobacco can help your health and relationships.
What’s your why? Explore our interactive tools to find out why quitting is important to you.