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People in Sheffield urged to make their homes smokefree after increase in secondhand smoke exposure during lockdown

Cartoon of a black smoke cloud around head and child in background

Smokefree Sheffield has today launched a new campaign to encourage people to make their homes smokefree. It comes after lockdown led to an increase in secondhand exposure at home, specifically in households with children.

An animation has been created to highlight the dangers of secondhand smoke. Told from the perspective of a child, it shows how tobacco smoke can move around the home and affect the whole family. Demonstrating that there’s no safe way to smoke inside, smokers are encouraged to get support to quit or to make sure they take smoking right outside.

Sadly, lockdown has left even more children exposed to the dangers of SHS with people generally spending more time inside their homes than ever before. Research has shown that households that include children are 50% more likely to report being exposed to SHS since lockdown compared to those without children. And a further 12% of smokers who live with children report they are smoking indoors more than they did before lockdown. On top of this, the onset of winter is also likely to increase people's exposure to SHS with the cold weather making it even less convenient for smokers to go outside to smoke.

Regularly breathing in secondhand smoke can cause the same health problems as smoking. It is one of the leading causes of poor respiratory health in children and exposure significantly increases the risk of stroke, heart disease and lung cancer in adults.

Alison Teal, Executive Member for Sustainable Neighbourhoods, Wellbeing, Parks and Leisure said:

"Most people know the dangers of secondhand smoke and try to do what they can to prevent it in their home. However, it’s trickier than people think as 80% of secondhand smoke is invisible, odourless and the microscopic particles are impossible to control. Steps like opening a window, smoking by the back door or smoking in another room don’t actually stop secondhand smoke spreading around the home. The only reliable way to protect others is to never smoke inside the home.”

Greg Fell, Director of Public Health Sheffield said:

"It’s worrying that lockdown has led to more people being exposed to secondhand smoke. We know most smokers want to quit and that this is the best way to protect others from secondhand smoke, so it’s vital that they get the support they need.

 "With Stoptober just around the corner I want to urge smokers in Sheffield who want to quit to get in touch with their local stop smoking service. For those who aren’t quite ready yet, there are still positive steps they can take, like using other sources of nicotine, such as patches, gum or e-cigarettes when cravings strike, or making sure they smoke right outside.”

For further advice and support to quit smoking or make your home a smokefree space, visit