daycare room    

Childcare and

 Tobacco Smoke   
   boy painting 

Exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke is especially dangerous to children because their bodies are still developing.


According to the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke1

 girl inside tube   
Tobacco smoke lingers in the air hours after cigarettes have been extinguished.  Ventilation systems do not work to eliminate the harmful effects of this smoke. Therefore, smoking only when children are not present or using designated smoking areas or separately ventilated smoking rooms cannot protect children from exposure to secondhand or thirdhand smoke.2   
Additionally, thirdhand smoke in childcare settings is of concern because studies have shown that months after a cigarette was smoked, particles of thirdhand smoke remains on countertops, floors, upholstery, carpets, clothing and other surfaces and fabrics.3

Thirdhand smoke is especially dangerous to infants and children because they crawl, play on, breathe near, touch, and mouth contaminated surfaces, such as floors and fabrics.

Childcare providers who go outside the home or center to smoke may return with thirdhand smoke on their clothing, exposing infants and children who come into contact with them.4

bottle feeding a baby 

When choosing a childcare provider:

  • Ask about the childcare provider’s tobacco use policy.
  • If smoking be allowed, ask what precautions are taken to keep the children safe.

The only sure way to protect your child from the effects of tobacco smoke in a childcare setting is to choose a childcare center or provider that is tobacco free inside and outside the facility.


Connecticut Regulations

Day Care Centers and Group Day Care Facilities (centers or homes with more than 6 children)

(Public Health Code Regulations 19a-79-7a,d,9)


mom and kids on slide 
  • Smoking is prohibited in all child day care centers and group day care homes licensed by the State of Connecticut Department of Public Health, except in designated smoking areas.
  • Designated smoking areas must be enclosed in a separate part of the facility, away from any children. 
  • The person in charge of the facility must place visible signs at all entrances indicating that smoking is prohibited except in designated areas.
  • Matches and lighters shall be inaccessible to children at all times.


Family Day Care Home (private home with less than 6 children)

(Public Health Code Regulations 19a-87b-9 (o))


  • The provider shall protect children from hazards associated with tobacco use in the facility.
  • If the provider, household members, or staff members smoke cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, the provider shall make this known in advance to parents who are considering placing their children in the provider's care.
  • The provider or staff members may not smoke while engaged in caregiving activities requiring direct physical contact with children, including, but not limited to feeding, diapering, dressing and rocking.
 kids in front of bus

The provider shall ensure that all cigarettes, cigars, pipes, ashes, butts, lighters and matches are kept out of the reach of children.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health, Community-based Regulations (860-509-8045) is the enforcement agency for violations in licensed childcare facilities.