A new Smokefree Homes and Cars campaign has launched in Bury raising awareness of the dangers that secondhand smoke can cause in enclosed spaces.
Bury Council will support national TV and radio adverts that show smoking by a window or the backdoor is not enough to protect children from secondhand smoke.
Smoke free kits will be available from pharmacies and children’s centres, and ‘Stick and Quit’ sticker sets will be distribute for use by children to encourage smoke free zones.
The campaign will highlight how over 80% of secondhand smoke is invisible and odourless, yet contains harmful cancer causing toxins and poisons that are unknowingly damaging children in Bury every day.
Not only does smoking in front of children directly impact their health, but children of smokers are 90 per cent more likely to become smokers themselves.
In Bury 31,834 people smoke and it’s estimated that it costs the local economy £52,400,000 every year in NHS costs, lost productivity, litter and fire damage.
Dr. Peter Elton, Director of Public Health for Bury, said:
“Secondhand smoke causes a range of serious health problems for children and adults. We want to reduce the number of children who are admitted to hospital every year in Bury through the effects of secondhand smoke.
“Children’s lungs are smaller and less developed so they are more vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke. It is vital that we do everything we can to improve awareness and reduce the risks. Opening a window won’t protect your health, but smoke free cars and homes will.
Kate Shepherd, Bury Stop Smoking Service Manager said:
“Bury stop smoking service wants to support people who smoke to think about the effect this can have on their family and support them to take positive action. Giving up smoking or making sure you have a completely smokefree home and car is the only way to protect your family.
“If people do want to quit there is excellent support and advice available. Get in touch with us at Bury stop smoking service on 0845 223 9001 and visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree to order your free Smokefree Kit.
Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Tobacco Free Futures, which developed the award winning Take Seven Steps Out campaign in Bury, said:
“There are already hundreds of thousands of people who smoke in the North West protecting their children from secondhand smoke by taking seven steps out – which involves moving well away from homes and buildings to smoke.
“There are over 4,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke, 60 of which cause cancer. Opening windows or standing at the door doesn’t stop the toxic poisons contained in smoke filling a room or a car and children breathing it in. This campaign will remind people that smoking at home or in the car is harmful to children and they can take action to prevent this even if they are not ready to quit”.
In the Bury area, secondhand smoke results in at least 1,000 GP consultations a year and over 30 hospital admissions.
Nationally, up to five million children across the UK are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in the home and the cost to the NHS of treating secondhand smoke-related illness in children alone is £26 million per year.
Notes for editor
· Secondhand smoke results in at least 34,000 GP consultations a year in the NW and over 1,100 hospital admissions. (Based on Royal College of Physicians: Passive smoking and children. A report by the Tobacco Advisory Group. London: RCP, March 2010).
· Secondhand smoke makes children really poorly – chest infections, ear infections leading to operations - they end up going to the doctors or hospital often and miss days at school. Many cot deaths could also be prevented by keeping smoke right away from the home.
· Many parents believe they are already taking action to protect their children, but may not realise that their actions don’t go far enough.
· Secondhand smoke in enclosed spaces is extremely toxic for everyone. But children and young people whose lungs are still developing - and who mostly don’t have a choice about whether they breathe it - are the most vulnerable.
· Up to 5 million children across the UK are thought to be regularly exposed to SHS in the home (Source: Kabir Z et al, Secondhand smoke exposure in cars, Sept 2009)
· Exposure to SHS results in 300,000 GP visits and 9,500 hospital admissions for children each year, and the cost to the NHS of treating SHS-related illness in children alone is £26 million per annum (Source: Kabir Z et al, Secondhand smoke exposure in cars, Sept 2009)
· Children of smokers are 90 per cent more likely to become smokers themselves. In England and Wales, 23,000 young people each year start smoking by the age of 15 as a result of exposure to smoking in the home (Source: Passive smoking and children. Royal College of Physicians, London, 2010)
· Over 8 million people in England smoke. While smoking rates have declined over past decades, the rate of decline has slowed in recent years (Source: Integrated Household Survey, 2011)
· Smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in England and each year it accounts for over 100,000 deaths in the UK and one in two long-term smokers will die prematurely from a smoking disease (Sources: NHS Information Centre, Statistics on Smoking, England 2011; Doll, R., Peto, R., Wheatley, K. Gray, R. & Sutherland, I. (1994). Mortality in relation to smoking: 40 years’ observations on male British doctors. British Medical Journal, 309, 901-911.)
For media enquiries contact:
TFF contact: Ian White, Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org 0161 238 6385 / 07825 309 760
DH contact: David.Shaw@phe.gov.uk
· Tobacco Free Futures are leading experts in tackling tobacco in communities and recently helped over 60,000 people in the North West to have their say on the government’s plain packaging consultation – the largest regional response in the country. They also worked with partners to halve numbers of 14 year old smokers in the region and helping to create the world’s first regional illicit tobacco programme that has seen illicit tobacco sales in the region drop significantly.