What's the problem?
There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Almost half of all children in the UK are exposed to tobacco smoke at home. If people smoke around their children, the child can inhale the equivalent of 150 cigarettes a year! That is why 50 children are admitted to hospital every day in the UK as a result of illness caused by secondhand smoke.
Babies and toddlers suffer from the effects of secondhand smoke much more than adults as they:
- cannot escape the indoor smoke as they need to stay near their parents
- are unable to say that the smoke bothers them
- have small, developing, lungs and so are more susceptible to damage from secondhand smoke (you may notice they have more coughs and a wheeze?)
- have small inner ear channels, increasing their risk of developing of middle ear infections, 'glue ear'.
Worryingly, children are three times more likely to take up smoking if their parents smoke.
What's the solution?
The easiest step you can take towards addressing these problems is to make your home smokefree. Just ask the smokers to pop outside when they want a cigarette.
- Keep all enclosed areas, eg, your home and your car, free from smoke by smoking outside.
- Ask all visitors not to smoke in your home or in your car.
- When visiting family or friends ask them not to smoke around your children.
- The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is quit smoking.
- Call the local stop smoking service on: 0845 602 3608. Find out how to stop smoking.
What will a smokefree home mean to your children?
Research has shown that they will be less likely to develop behavioural problems and learning difficulties if they live in a smokefree home.
- Babies will have a reduced risk of cot death.
- They will have greater lung capacity.
- Your children are far less likely to start smoking themselves.
- Children are less likely to be absent from school with colds and coughs.
Why not try our short smokefree homes quiz? Test your knowledge and see what you know about secondhand smoke and how to make a home smokefree.