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Smoking in the Household

Exposure to environmental smoke—from cigarettes, cigars, or pipes—can be a serious health hazard for children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to secondhand smoke is associated with higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), more frequent and severe asthma, and acute respiratory infections in young children.1 Parents were asked whether anyone in the household used cigarettes, cigars, or pipe tobacco. Overall, 26.2 percent of children were reported to live in households where someone smokes, 7.6 percent of whom were exposed to secondhand smoke inside their homes (data not shown).

More than one-third of multiracial children (35.6 percent) lived in households with a smoker, as did 27.3 percent of White and 27.1 percent of Black children. Rates of household smoking among other racial and ethnic groups were lower: 22.6 percent of Hispanic children and 17.8 percent of children of other races lived in households with a smoker.

Rates of household smoking are lower in households with higher incomes. Of children with household incomes below the poverty level, 36.9 percent lived in a household with a smoker, as did 33.9 percent of children with household incomes between 100 and 199 percent of the Federal poverty level (FPL). Of children with household incomes between 200 and 399 percent of FPL, 25.1 percent lived with a smoker, and of children with household incomes of 400 percent or more of FPL, only 15.0 percent had a smoker in the household.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tobacco Information and Prevention Source. Secondhand Smoke Fact Sheet. February 2004.


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