Welcome to the parents section of "smoke's no joke". We aim to arm you with all the information you need to tackle family smoking issues.

Second-hand Smoke kills

Second-hand smoking

Even if you don't smoke, your health can still be seriously affected by smoking, particularly if you live with other people who do smoke.

Breathing other people's smoke is known as passive smoking or second-hand smoking and could account for as many as 2,700 deaths each year in people aged between 20 and 63 and as many as 8,000 deaths in people aged 63+.

Public awareness of the dangers of being exposed to second-hand smoke has become far more widely acknowledged since 2007 when it became illegal to smoke in the workplace, in vehicles used for work and in most enclosed public spaces. However this legislation does not restrict a person's right to smoke in his or her own home, or in their own vehicle.

Second-hand smoke in the home

Many smokers want to smoke 'responsibly' and believe that they take adequate precautions to reduce the impact of their smoke on family members. In reality, there is very little smokers can do to reduce the health impacts of smoking at home. Opening a window or only smoking in one particular room makes little difference. Research shows that smoke can linger for up to three hours even in a well-ventilated room because toxins from smoke are easily absorbed into furnishings, carpets and walls and are gradually released back into the atmosphere and breathed in. This puts babies and young children especially at risk as they not only breathe this toxic air, but also have a tendency to put contaminated items into their mouths including their toys.

Children at risk

The health of children who live in homes where someone smokes is particularly at risk. Studies suggest that during the course of a year, children could receive the nicotine equivalent of having smoked up to 150 cigarettes themselves.

It's not surprising that young children living in households where both parents smoke, have a 72% increased risk of respiratory illness and are more likely to develop cancer in later life.

Second hand smoke

The incidences of bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, ear infection, cardiovascular problems and even behavioural issues have all been linked to parental smoking.

Second-hand smoke is an established trigger for the onset of asthma in children.

Babies at risk

Non-smoking women who are exposed to second-hand smoke during pregnancy have a higher risk of miscarriage and are more likely to give birth to babies who are underdeveloped in many respects, significantly low birth weight being just one of the factors involved.

Parental smoking is also one of the risk factors associated with sudden infant death syndrome (cot death). According to the Royal College of Physicians, exposure to second-hand smoke could be the principal cause of 1 in 5 cot deaths in the UK.

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