Secondhand Smoke and The Stay at Home Order

September 11, 2020

While we are under the California Stay at Home executive order, some Californians are coping with the stress of this pandemic by smoking and vaping. Because of this, you and your family may be exposed to more secondhand smoke.

We all need healthy lungs now more than ever. When you’re exposed to secondhand smoke, it harms your lungs.1 Damaged lungs can lead to more severe symptoms of COVID-19.2 3 Even before the coronavirus pandemic, secondhand smoke exposure was on the rise in California, driven mainly from increases in e-cigarette and marijuana use.4 This is concerning because there is no safe level of secondhand smoke.5

But this isn’t a time to get angry with your smoking or vaping neighbor. Now is the time for understanding and compassion. Your neighbor isn’t smoking to hurt you or your family. They are likely smoking or vaping to cope with stress. Dealing with stress can make it hard for people to quit smoking and vaping, or to stay quit. For some, it could even lead to starting for the first time or to using more tobacco than they would normally.

If you are being exposed to secondhand smoke, there are things you can do:

  1. Be compassionate. Remember they are probably dealing with extraordinary stress too, which can make it hard to give up smoking or vaping. Patience, kindness and support is something all of us need right now.
  2. Empathize. This pandemic has drastically changed all of our lives. Try to understand why they are smoking or vaping. Are they smoking or vaping because they’re worried about how to get groceries or because they lost their job? Even just an offer of help with something small can be a welcome gesture.
  3. Reach out with a Wellness Postcard. This could be the time to practice being a good neighbor, and reaching out might help. It doesn’t take much to give someone a better outlook during these unsettling times. Even just a simple friendly note might give them the extra encouragement to make healthy choices. Below there’s a “Wellness” postcard that includes overall health and wellness tips, including information on quitting. It also includes information for the California Smokers’ Helpline, which helps people quit smoking and vaping with personalized support, and it’s free!


Click on the image to download

If you need additional help with addressing secondhand smoke in your home, visit Make Your Home Secondhand Smokefree.

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