Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is smoke from burning tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. It is smoke that has been exhaled, or breathed out, by the person smoking. Tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including hundreds that are toxic and about 70 that can cause cancer. Indoors or outdoors, there is no safe level of exposure to smoke from tobacco products. Smoke can travel between rooms though stairwells, air ducts, plumbing, electrical wiring routes, and even through tiny cracks in floors, doors, and walls. Women who are pregnant, babies, children, people with asthma, and other chronic health conditions are particularly at-risk of developing health problems from secondhand smoke. more

It is illegal to smoke or vape in public workplaces, restaurants, and bars in Rhode Island. It is also illegal to smoke or vape in or on any Grade K-12 school properties, indoors or outdoors. Some communities, housing facilities, and college campuses have also banned cigarette smoking, vaping, and other tobacco use in outdoor common areas, parks, beaches, and other public spaces.

What you should do

  • If you smoke, quit. Talk to your doctor about quitting and/or call the Rhode Island Nicotine Helpline for free services. more
  • Do not smoke or vape e-cigarettes near others and never smoke or vape in a public place or restaurant.
  • If you experience problems with secondhand smoke, let us know. complaint form

Property Managers and Public Housing Authorities

  • Adopt a smoke-free or tobacco-free policy for rental properties. Follow a planned timetable to gather input from residents and staff, provide supportive smoking cessation resources, and help prepare all residents and staff for the new policy change and related administrative tasks. The Live Smokefree-RI Program can provide technical assistance and resources to support these efforts. Such smoke-free and tobacco-free policies protect non-smokers' health, save money on maintenance and turnover, reduce the risk of fire, and improve property marketability.

Colleges and Universities

  • Go tobacco free. Tobacco-free campuses are proven to increase quit attempts, help reduce students' risk of becoming a lifelong smoker, reduce secondhand smoke exposure, and reduce risk of dorm fires. Surveys show that tobacco-free policies are supported by the majority of students and staff. Tobacco-free environments also better prepare students to enter the modern workforce, where smoke-free and tobacco-free policies have become the social norm.