New regulations mean drivers will not be allowed to smoke in private vehicles carrying under-18 year olds in England from 1 October.
This move will protect the 26% of 11-15 year olds who are exposed to cigarette smoke in their family’s and a campaign is being launched to raise awareness of the damage secondhand smoke causes children.
Now smokers in Liverpool are being urged to consider the effects their second hand smoke has on children.
Liverpool still has one of the worst rates of lung cancer in the country, despite the rate of smoking falling dramatically – down from 35 % in 2005 to 25 % in 2013.
Public Health England has launched a campaign to highlight the hidden damage that secondhand smoke in homes and cars can cause to children’s health – following the government’s decision to end smoking in cars carrying children in England.
Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful to children as they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways. Children being exposed to secondhand smoke results in more than 300,000 GP consultations and 9,500 hospital admissions every year .
The government estimates that three million children in England are exposed to secondhand smoke in their family car, which puts them at risk of serious conditions including, respiratory infections, meningitis and triggering asthma. A survey by the British Lung Foundation found that 86% of children who are exposed to smoking in cars would like the smoker to stop; yet only 31% actually feel able to ask them to do so.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer said: “The passing of regulation to make smoking in cars carrying under 18s illegal is a significant victory for protecting children’s health from secondhand smoke. Smoking just a single cigarette in a car exposes children to high levels of air pollutants and cancer causing chemicals like arsenic, formaldehyde and tar.
“Children are least equipped to speak out to protest against secondhand smoke, so I welcome this legislation to end smoking in cars when they are present.”
Dr Sandra Davies, Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, said: “Signing up to quit smoking really is one of the best things you can do for your health and your family’s health. We know that the vast majority of smokers in Liverpool are keen to quit and there is lots of support to wean people off tobacco. What better motivation than knowing what affects it can have on the people closest to you?”
For free local, confidential, friendly advice and practical help to quit smoking contact Roy Castle FagEnds on 0800 195 2131. To find out which pharmacies provide stop smoking services, contact health promotion on 0151 295 3256.