UK Campaign Raises Awareness of Children's Deteriorating Health Due to Second hand Smoke

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Chemist Direct takes a closer look at the effect global campaigns are having in protecting children from second hand smoking.

Secondhand Smoke

Effects of secondhand smoke upon children

Second-hand smoking has put children in the proverbial 'line of fire' as far as lung disease, meningitis, and cot death are concerned.

A growing problem in the UK since the past year is number of children who are being admitted to hospitals due to health complications caused by second hand smoking effects. The Royal College of Physicians has stated that over 800 children visit their GP everyday due to serious effects of second hand smoke exposure. Last year's statistics of children's General Practitioner visits has reached an alarming rate of 300,000, and children's hospital admissions have risen to 9,500. Children seem to be suffering the biggest brunt of second-hand smoking effects.

It is estimated that 46, 000 non-smokers who live with smokers die each year from heart disease, and more than 40% of children who visit the emergency room for severe asthma attacks live with smokers. In fact, between 150,000 and 300,000 children under the age of 18 months get respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis from second hand smoke. About 7,500 to 15,000 of these cases must be hospitalised. “Second-hand smoking has put children in the proverbial 'line of fire' as far as lung disease, meningitis, and cot death are concerned,” Dr. Jean Wahlberg, a general practitioner in London.

Earlier this month, the UK Second Hand Smoking Campaign, backed by Public Health England, was launched to increase the awareness of the hidden dangers of passive smoking. A Smokefree Kit has also been developed by members of the campaign that includes facts, tools, and tips to help adopt a smoke free culture and future for our children. The campaign will also show that smoking out of car windows and backdoors is not enough to protect children from second hand smoke.

80% of second-hand smoke is invisible and odourless yet it contains harmful cancer-causing toxins and poisons. Cigarettes are made of 4,500 chemicals and at least 50 of them can cause lung cancer in non-smokers. Second-hand smoke has also been associated with heart disease in adults and sudden infant death syndrome, ear infections, and asthma attacks in children. 75% of smoking parents interviewed during the start of the campaign were shocked by the effects that smoking has had on the health of their children and are quickly turning to the use of smoking cessation aids like Nicorette.

We all know that smoking is injurious to our health, but the health and well-being of loved ones, friends, and family members who are exposed to it has been taken into little consideration until now. Thankfully the rising number of global campaigns to shield children from the cruel effects of second hand smoke is on the rise.

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Samantha Smith
Chemist Direct
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