How can smoke affect my health?

How can smoke affect my health?

Smoke reduces the quality of the air we breathe and may affect some people's health. How smoke affects you depends on your health and age, as well as your exposure to smoke.


1. Your health

Some people may notice smoke irritates their eyes, nose and throat, which may lead to coughing and shortness of breath. However, most healthy people recover as soon as the smoke dissipates.

You are likely to be more susceptible to the health effects of smoke if you have a chronic disease, especially a heart problem or a lung condition, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis and emphysema. When smoke levels are elevated, you may have symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, breathing problems, or an increased severity of asthma or bronchitis. 

If you are having difficulty breathing or think you are experiencing warning signs of a heart attack, call Triple Zero (000) for an ambulance immediately.

              What precautions can I take?


2. Your age  

Infants and people over 65 years of age may be more susceptible to the harmful effects of smoke.


3. Your exposure

It is a good idea for all Tasmanians to limit how long they spend outdoors in smoky conditions. This is especially important for the groups above.


4. The level of smoke

The health effects of smoke depend on the concentration and composition of the smoke particles. Smaller particles are more hazardous as they can be breathed into the lungs.

In general, most smoke particles fall into the PM2.5 category (ie particles with diameters less than 2.5 millionths of a metre).