Paul Lambert is an Advanced Health Improvement Specialist, an expert in tobacco control and health problems caused by tobacco use, with The Office of the Director of Public Health in Leeds.
He’s taking this opportunity to talk about the launch of Take 7 Steps Out in Leeds on 16 April. This is a new campaign to encourage parents and carers to make their home smoke free and – as it says on the tin – ‘Take 7 steps out (side)’.
Paul says “Most of the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke are invisible but secondhand smoke can cause serious harm to children and babies.
“In enclosed spaces secondhand smoke exposes children’s vulnerable lungs and bodies to terrible toxins, increasing the risk of cot death, asthma, tonsillitis and glue ear which can lead to hospital appointments, operations and a lot of time off school.
“Although there is no doubt that cigarette smoke harms children, just a small change can make all the difference.”
“Smoking at the back door, moving into a different room or by an open window is not enough to keep children safe from cigarette smoke – they are still breathing in the smoke. So instead of asking parents to stop smoking, we ask them to smoke well away from their home and Take 7 Steps Out (side). Help protect your children – Take 7 Steps Out before smoking and keep your homes smokefree. ”
Why launch a secondhand smoke campaign?
- It is estimated that approximately 2 million children in the UK are routinely exposed to secondhand smoke
- Passive smoking causes bronchitis, pneumonia, coughing and wheezing, asthma attacks, middle ear infection, cot death, and possibly cardiovascular and neurobiological impairment
- Smoking in front of children helps create the illusion that smoking is a normal, safe, acceptable activity
- Each year, secondhand smoke related illnesses generate over 300,000 UK GP consultations and about 9,500 hospital admissions, and cost the NHS about £23.3 million.
Paul added “Since I’m on the subject of smokefree places, as you probably saw on the news last month, parliament approved the regulation to ban smoking in cars carrying children as passengers. According to the British Heart Foundation, more than 430,000 children are exposed to second hand smoke in cars each week. This new law coming into effect in October will hopefully encourage more parents and carers not to smoke around children, especially in enclosed spaces like a car thus protecting them from the 4000 chemicals in tobacco smoke.
Please have a look at the Take 7 Steps Out campaign, share it on social media and if you or anyone you know is a smoker, see what you can do to reduce the impact of secondhand smoke on those around you.”
Did you know?
- Smoking is the biggest cause of early death
- Smoking causes more deaths than the next six biggest causes combined – alcohol, drugs, obesity, illegal drugs and road accidents