Canadian Children's Rights Council
Conseil canadien des droits des enfants

Smoking - Exploiting Children

Here's what the Canadian Lung Association has to say:

Youth and Tobacco

Ontario law prohibits the sale of tobacco if the person is under 19.

Smoking is expensive!

Teenagers smoke more than a billion cigarettes a year resulting in retail sales worth over $400 million. The average teen smoker spends $1,000 a year on cigarettes.

Smoking is addictive!

  • 8 out of 10 teens who try smoking get hooked.

  • Over half of Grade 12 students are unable to quit.

  • Only 5% of student smokers think that they will be smoking in 5 years. But 5 years later, 80% of them are heavy smokers.

  • 60% of smokers try to quit. Most smokers quit several times before stopping for good.

  • 80% of smokers would like to quit.

  • Cigarette smoking is Read More ..dictive and harder to quit than heroin or cocaine.

Smoking kills!

  • It is estimated that 55% of young men and 51% of young women who started smoking by age 15 will die before age 70 if they continue to smoke.

  • Tobacco kills more than 40,000 Canadians per year. That's more than the total number of deaths from AIDS, traffic accidents, suicide, murder, fires and accidental poisoning.

Youth and Tobacco:

Most teens are concerned about their appearance and social life, however, when it comes to smoking and...

dating 8 out of 10 guys and 7 out of 10 girls say they would not date someone who smokes.

wrinkling - smoking causes premature wrinkling. It makes the skin dry and leathery.

zits - smoking makes it take longer for acne to heal

hair loss -  it causes hair loss in some teens.

smiles - smoking yellows teeth, causes tooth decay and contributes to oral cancer.

Smoking & advertising:

Kids are twice as likely to be influenced by advertising as they are from peer pressure. They are three times more sensitive to advertising than adults. Norway banned advertising and reduced by half the number of children who started smoking.

Please visit the website of The Canadian Lung Association

What the Canadian Cancer Society says about children and second-hand smoke.

"Even if your kids don't smoke, they are still at risk of tobacco-related diseases because of second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke is Read More ..ngerous than directly inhaled smoke, and children are exposed to it every day.

Children are at risk from second-hand smoke

Children are passive smokers. They are forced to breathe second-hand smoke in their own homes and in the family car if there are smokers in the family. They are also exposed to second-hand smoke in public places such as restaurants and malls that may not be smoke-free, and in other public buildings where there are not enough smoking restrictions.


Why is second-hand smoke dangerous to children?

Second-hand smoke releases the same 4,000 chemicals as smoke that is directly inhaled, but in even greater quantity! Approximately 50 of these chemicals (carcinogens) cause cancer.

Because it burns at a lower temperature than inhaled smoke, sidestream smoke contains:

  • 3 times Read More ..r, which gums up lungs and breathing passages

  • 5 times Read More ..rbon monoxide, which reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood

  • 10 times Read More ..nzene, which is a poison used in insecticides

  • 40 times Read More ..monia, which is commonly used in household cleaners

Cigarettes burn for approximately 12 minutes, but smokers usually only inhale for 30 seconds. That means for 11 minutes and 30 seconds cigarettes are spewing sidestream smoke into the air for children to breathe.

Health risks of second-hand smoke for children

Children of parents who smoke:

  • cough and wheeze more than other children

  • have Read More ..r infections

  • have reduced lung capacity

  • have bronchitis and pneumonia Read More ..ten

  • make Read More ..ips to hospital

  • are more likely to develop asthma

  • suffer Read More asthma than non-smokers children who have asthma

Over time, children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to:

  • Have a lower ability to take in and use oxygen.

  • Develop cancers of the lung. Research on second-hand smoke and the relationship with other cancers is in progress.

  • Suffer from heart disease and stroke.

Scientists have also shown that there is a link between a mothers smoking and her infants risk of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).


Can second-hand smoke affect unborn babies?

Unfortunately, second-hand smoke does affect the unborn children of mothers who smoke or who are exposed to high levels of second-hand smoke. Nicotine, which is the addictive stimulant in tobacco, can be measured in the blood of a pregnant woman who is exposed to second-hand smoke. Nicotine speeds up the heartbeat of the fetus and slows down the growth of the baby's lungs and breathing passages.

Carbon monoxide from second-hand smoke can reduce the oxygen supply to a fetus by 25%, which leads to lower birth weights.


What can you can do to protect children

There are many ways concerned smokers and non-smokers (including caregivers, babysitters, nursery school administrators) can reduce the risk of second-hand smoke. You can:

  • make your home and vehicle smoke-free spaces

  • work with your child's daycare and school officials to make sure these places and surrounding property are smoke-free

  • support local efforts to ban smoking in all public places, including child care centres

  • demand that politicians asking for your vote press for smoke-free legislation

  • quit smoking or help a loved one quit"

Please visit the website of The Canadian Cancer Society

Canadian court judges have ruled for some time that you can lose your children should you expose them to second hand smoke in the home or cars.

While the children are under the primary care of the petitioner, she shall not permit the children to be exposed to second hand smoke. Specifically, there shall be no smoking within the family home at Fort St. James nor the family vehicle.   Read More ..

Ontario private member's bill asks for smoker's in cars with children to be fined.

Smoking Case - Muskoka, Ontario

Superior Court of Justice, COURT FILE NO.:  153-03, DATE:  2004-04-27

N.C. smokes tobacco products. 

The father of the children, S.S., smokes tobacco products.  N.C.'s mother, D.C., also smokes tobacco products.  The public health nurse stresses that the children were born premature and that tobacco smoke is an aggravating factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, otherwise known as SIDS. 

When father resided with the family, he and N.C. did not agree that tobacco smoke was hazardous to health of the children.  They continued to smoke tobacco products.  This was evidenced by full ashtrays being observed in the residence when workers attended.  In addition, N.C. openly said to the public health nurse that she did not believe that second hand smoke was hazardous to the health of her children.  Read More ..

Smoking Case - Supreme Court of B.C.

Health of the Children

[18] Ms. Yeung testified that the children have complained about Mr. Yeung's smoking on his access visits. It was evident from Mr. Yeung's person and the papers he presented to the Court that he is a very heavy smoker. He testified that he will give up smoking if awarded custody of the children. I take this as recognition that his smoking may affect the children???s health. Read More ..

Alberta Court of the Queen's Bench

No smoking for mom in the home with children

Read More ..

The Canadian Press

Ontario private member's bill would ban smoking in cars with kids

The Canadian Press, Friday, December 7, 2007

Ontario was under growing pressure Thursday to become the first province to ban smoking in cars containing young passengers as health advocates rallied around a private member's bill that would outlaw the practice critics liken to child abuse.  Read More ..

The Canadian Press

N.S. town bans smoking when kids in vehicle

Canadian Press, November 19, 2007

HALIFAX ??? A move by a small Nova Scotia town to ban smoking in vehicles carrying children is being applauded by the Canadian Cancer Society, which dismissed criticism that the law is too intrusive by citing the evolution of anti-smoking laws across the country.  Read More ..

Toronto Star logo

Ruling rightly blames adults for teen addictions, says Linda McQuaig

The Toronto Star, Oct. 9, 2005, LINDA MCQUAIG

The tobacco industry and its supporters have long insisted that smoking is simply a matter of  "individual choice."

They note that the dangers of smoking are well-known, and yet people choose to smoke anyway just like people choose to drive cars even though they realize many die in car accidents, and people eat junk food even though they know that can cause heart problems. Read More ..

Ban smoking in cars with children: Ontario doctors

CBC News, Thursday, October 14, 2004

Drivers should not be allowed to smoke in their vehicles if they have children as passengers, says the Ontario Medical Association in a new report on the dangers of second-hand smoke.

The report, Exposure to Second-hand Smoke: Are We Protecting Our Kids?, looks at how second-hand smoke in vehicles and the home continues to harm children's health despite moves to reduce smoking in public spaces.  Read More ..

Toronto Star logo

Canada's largest daily newspaper

Ontario MPPs pass bill banning single cigarillos

Cigarillos - in peach, grape and other flavours ??? are sold singly in tubes that resemble lip gloss.

The Toronto Star, Robert Benzie, Queen's Park Bureau Chief, December 05, 2008

Ontario is stamping out candy-flavoured cigarillo "singles" aimed at children and teens.

In a move to curb youth smoking, MPPs yesterday unanimously passed a bipartisan private member's bill to outlaw the single-serve cigarillos that are brightly packaged and carry no health warnings due to a legal loophole.

"It's excellent for the protection of children in Ontario," said New Democrat MPP France G??linas (Nickel Belt), who co-sponsored the legislation with Liberal MPP Dave Levac (Brantford). Read More ..