Secondhand Smoke: How to Prevent Asthma Triggers in Children

Secondhand smoke is one of the most common indoor asthma triggers. The Office of Head Start (OHS) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed tip sheets and other resources to help health managers, coordinators, teachers, and parents create asthma friendly environments for children.


Reducing Asthma Attacks Among Head Start families

Asthma is a growing problem for Head Start families, as well as the nation as a whole. It is the most common chronic childhood disease and places a disproportionate burden on minority and low income groups, the population that Head Start serves.

Head Start programs may use ECLKC resources to help care for children with asthma, and plan to prevent asthma episodes. Head Start families can help prevent serious health risks such as more frequent and severe asthma attacks among asthmatic children, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, and acute middle ear infections by taking actions to reduce exposure to asthma triggers.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Partnership

EPA and HHS are working together to improve the quality of life for nearly a million Head Start children by conducting nationwide asthma and secondhand smoke outreach.

Read more on the EPA and HHS Memorandum of Understanding.

Creating Smoke-free Homes for Head Start Children

Secondhand smoke is harmful to everyone, especially to babies and young children of all communities...By increase awareness of the health impacts on children from exposure to secondhand smoke and helping families take action to protect children from exposure to secondhand smoke, you can help protect children’s health.

What You Can Do: 

Use the Care for Their Air tip sheets to make the Head Start community aware of the dangers of secondhand smoke.

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Secondhand Smoke: How to Prevent Asthma Triggers in Children. HHS/ACF/OHS. 2009. English.

Last Reviewed: May 2009

Last Updated: November 13, 2014