Childhood Asthma/Tobacco Smoke



Fate and Transport

Exposure Pathway

Methods for Monitoring in the Environment

Methods for Measuring Human Exposure

Strategies for Preventing or Controlling Exposure

Respiratory Harmful Effects

Deposition, Absorption, and Metabolism

Dose-Response Relationship

Organ Sites of Toxicity


Risk Assessment/Risk Management Considerations


Return to 5103/5104 Home

Strategies for Preventing or Controlling Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)

Exposure to ETS can be controlled, unlike natural asthma triggers such as pollen and dust mites

Voluntary nature of human smoking lends itself to public health interventions

  • Bottom Line: Limit or eliminate a child’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke

    Number one... if you are a smoker... quit.

    Don't let anyone smoke in your home. Don't put out any ashtrays... this will discourage people from lighting up. And remember, air flows through a house, so smoking even in one room will allow that smoke to travel throughout the house.

    Don't let anyone smoke in your car. Opening windows is just not enough to clear the air.

    Choose a child care provider who doesn't smoke, and doesn't allow smoking in the house.

    And when you are with your child in public places like shopping malls, restaurants, and bowling alleys... sit in non-smoking sections.

    If parents won’t quit smoking for their own health, emphasizing detrimental health effects on children may encourage them to not smoke in the house or around their children

Education of parents and family members who smoke:

  • EPA fact sheets, mailings and brochures
    “Clear Your Home of Asthma Triggers”
    “Children and Secondhand Smoke”
    “The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality”
  • American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI) work with pediatricians and parents. October is Child Health Month, and ETS is one of the focus issues
  • Commercials aimed at larger audiences
  • In a perfect world, the parent/family member will quit smoking. But if not, restrictions should be encouraged as to where and when smoking in the house occurs.
  • Schools a good place to educate kids, who can in turn educate parents

Public Policy

  • Make restaurants and other public places no smoking by law
  • All licensed home daycares should be non smoking


  • Increased ventilation
  • Air filtration (i.e., 3M commercial for filtrete)
  • Patches and gums to help people stop smoking