Non-Smoking Fact Sheet

The following are excerpts from the World Health Organization's "Tobacco & the Rights of the Child" 2001:

  • Tobacco use generally begins during adolescence and continues through adulthood, sustained by addiction to the nicotine in tobacco. Although the scientific evidence that tobacco use causes death and disease is overwhelming, tobacco use among young people continues to rise as the tobacco industry aggressively promotes its products to a new generation of potential smokers. If current trends continue, 250 million children alive today will be killed by tobacco.
  • World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 700 million, or almost half of the world's children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, particularly at home.
  • Given the overwhelming scientific evidence attesting to the harmful impact of tobacco use and ETS on child health, implementing comprehensive tobacco control is not only a valid concern falling within the legislative competence of governments, but is a binding obligation under the Convention.
  • Tobacco is a uniquely dangerous product that should not be treated as a normal consumer good. It is the only legal and widely used substance which is both extremely addictive and causes the death of one-third to one-half of all regular users.
  • The influence of adult smoking on child health is felt in three major ways:
    • at the beginning of life through maternal smoking,
    • through ETS, and
    • through role modeling by smoking parents.
  • Many studies have shown that children are more likely to smoke if one or more parents smoke.
  • Researchers estimate that 50 percent of smokers who began smoking when they were young, will die of a smoking related illness.

Excerpts from Health Canada's "Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey", 2001:

  • In 2000, 25% of the 2.4 million households with children under the age of 12 reported regular exposure of these children to environmental tobacco smoke in the home from cigarettes or pipes.
  • In 2001, 22.5% of 15-19 year-olds and 32% of 20-24 year-olds were smokers
  • CTUMS 2000 indicated that the average smoker in Canada has been smoking cigarettes for 24 years; smokes an average of 16.8 cigarettes everyday; lights up the first cigarette within 30 minutes of waking, and is not event thinking about quitting (48%)

Excerpts from the Ipsos Reid survey conducted on behalf of The Lung Association, 2002:

  • 64% of non-smokers agreed with the statement that smoking around an asthmatic child and exposing them to second hand smoke is as serious an offense as drinking and driving. Forty-four percent of smokers agreed with this statement.
  • 92% of respondents (88% smokers/ 93% non-smokers) either agreed or strongly agreed that children have the right to a smoke-free environment.
  • Seven in 10 parents believe that people living with small children should not smoke inside their house at all, just half (54%) of parents who smoke believe that people living with small children¦ (that it) is okay to smoke in another part of the house away from small children¦
  1. World Health Organization. Tobacco and the rights of the child, 2001:
  2. Health Canada. Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey, 2001:
  3. Ipsos Reid. Survey on behalf of the Lung Association, 2002.

Page Last Updated: 20/01/2015