Horrible habit serves only to put kids at risk

OUR children are being killed by smoke. Parents need to take responsibility for their habit and protect their youngsters.

Since the smoking ban came into force it seems ludicrous that people were ever allowed to smoke in pubs and restaurants.

Thankfully, the days of emerging from the local reeking of cigarette smoke and with smarting eyes are long gone.

But clean-smelling clothes are one thing, safeguarding children’s health is another and last week a comprehensive study by the World Health Organisation found passive smoking still causes almost 600,000 deaths every year.

One-third of those killed are children, often exposed to smoke at home.

The study, in 192 countries, found passive smoking is particularly dangerous for children, who are said to be at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome, pneumonia and asthma.

The public health message hasn’t got through. There are still people smoking, or allowing smoking, in front of their children.

A report released by the NHS North of Tyne Trust earlier this year said: “In the North East it is estimated 84,000 children are being exposed every year [to second-hand smoke], leading to around 13,000 GP or hospital visits.”

Annually in this region there are an estimated 800 chest infections for under-twos, 4,900 middle ear infections for 0 to 16 year-olds, 900 new cases of wheeze and asthma for 0 to 16 year-olds, 24 cases of bacterial meningitis, 12,600 children needing to visit their GP and 400 children needing to go to hospital – all thanks to passive smoking.

If you expose your child to second-hand smoke you are simply not safeguarding their health.

I’m no angel. I’ve smoked in the past, but I have never and would never smoke in front of a child.

Personally I think all smoking inside should be banned. That way we can at least have some measures in place to protect the vulnerable.

The fact is smoking is a horrible habit, with no benefits. It only damages people.

Perceptions over the past 20 years have altered dramatically. Smoking is becoming more and more socially unacceptable, which is good.

It is bizarre when you remember smoking upstairs or on the back of buses, or the fact a good many children around now were born to mothers who lit up throughout pregnancy without a thought.

But that is the advantage of modern medicine. We know the horrible effects of smoking now and can act accordingly.

And although it would be nice to think parents took responsibility for protecting their children, the evidence points to this not being the case.

How can we change that? Education is probably the key step.

Too many people are still unaware of the damage passive smoking causes to their children. Most parents are after all loving, responsible people.

But they need to be educated, informed by their GP and given support. It’s a move many health authorities are making, thankfully.

A ban on smoking inside would also be a huge benefit. So if parents do still smoke inside – inflicting their habit on their children – at least there can be some measures put into place to protect those youngsters.

Making smoking more and more socially unacceptable is a good thing and hopefully it will mean our children are less likely to smoke. That would be a fantastic legacy to leave them.

source: journallive.co.uk

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