As part of a National Health Promotion campaign, we are trying to raise awareness of the risks to children within a household, where parents smoke. Below is important information about the effects of smoking on your children’s health. If you feel that you want more advice or help to stop smoking, there are some really useful contact numbers and websites at the end.
Why is smoking harmful?
You might think a cigarette is just tobacco wrapped in paper, but it’s much more than that. When a cigarette burns it releases a dangerous cocktail of over 5,000 different chemicals. Many of these chemicals are poisonous, and more than 70 may cause cancer.
How can it affect my child?
Children are more vulnerable to second-hand smoke. They have smaller airways, breathe faster, and their lungs and immune systems are still developing.
The Royal College of Physicians report on Passive Smoking and Children detailed the harm this causes families across the UK:
- Children exposed to second-hand smoke at home are more at risk of coughs, colds, ear problems, chest infections, wheezing, asthma, phlegm, breathlessness and poorer lung function. Children exposed to smoke are also more at risk of Meningitis and sudden infant death.
- Every year, 9,500 children in Britain are admitted to hospital because of the effects of second-hand smoke.
- Second-hand smoke accounts for 40 cot deaths in the UK every year.
- Smoking during pregnancy raises risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, prematurity, low birth weight, still-birth, neo-natal or sudden infant death.
- Children growing up with a parent or others who smoke around them are more likely to become smokers themselves.
Some misconceptions about smoking in the home:
“If I open a window or door the smoke won’t go in the house”
“If I smoke when the kids are at school the smoke will have cleared by the time they are home”
“If I use an air freshener that will get rid of the smell”
Even with the doors kept open, smoke will still spread throughout the house and lingers for up to 5 hours, waiting for children to breathe it in. Most of the particles in the smoke are too small to see or smell, so you won’t know they are there, long after you think the smoke has cleared. Candles and air fresheners may hide the smell of smoke but cannot get rid of the harmful toxins.
How Can I Get Help To Stop Smoking?
The Walsall stopping smoking service can be contacted via:
Website: One You Walsall
Tel: 01922444044 (Mon – Fri 9am – 6pm)
If you would like more information and tips on a ‘Smoke-free Home’, please visit: www.smokefreefamilies.co.uk