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Merseyside and Cheshire campaign for smoke ban to protect children
1:10pm Monday 30th December 2013 in News
AN online campaign is urging parents to protect their children from cigarette smoke within the confines of the car by calling for legislation to protect them from secondhand smoke.
Video footage starring Neil Fitzmaurice, best known for his roles in the comedies Peep Show and Phoenix Nights, and Jazmine Franks from the Channel 4 drama Hollyoaks, highlights that many young people are too frightened to speak up about their parents or other adults smoking in a car.
Produced jointly by North West based, Tobacco Free Futures and the British Lung Foundation the film is part of a wider campaign calling for legislation to make sure all cars carrying children are smoke-free.
The issue is due to be debated in the House of Lords in the New Year as part of the Children and Families Bill.
Hollyoaks actress Jazmine Franks, who plays Esther Bloom, said: “I’m sure a lot of people think that as long as the window is open the cigarette smoke is not doing any harm to other passengers in the car, especially children, but it’s not safe and it isn’t fair that children have to breathe it in.”
Matthew Ashton, Cheshire and Merseyside Lead for Public Health said: “Cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, 60 of which we know cause cancer. Hundreds of children suffering the effects of second-hand smoke are admitted to Cheshire and Merseyside hospitals every year with complications such as bronchitis, asthma and reduced lung function.
“We want to highlight this issue with parents in our communities and give local people a chance to have their say.”
The fresh call for legislation follows recent research by BLF which shows that more than 430,000 children, aged 11-15, in England are exposed to secondhand smoke in family cars at least once a week. In September the BLF produced two videos starring actors Linda Robson and David Harewood. At the end of the videos viewers were asked to vote for or against a ban and of those who voted, 90% voted in favour.
In a 2010 survey for Tobacco Free Futures 87% of residents in Cheshire and 83% of residents in Merseyside agreed that smoking should be banned in cars that are carrying children younger than 18 years of age.
Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Tobacco Free Futures said: “Secondhand smoke in cars is dangerous and can be up to 11 times the levels you would find in a smoky room. Plus over 80% of this deadly smoke is invisible. We urge people to watch and share the video, and to get in touch with their MP asking them to support legislation. Opening a window won’t protect children, smokefree cars will.”
Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said: “We know that secondhand smoke is particularly dangerous to young people within the enclosed confines of a car, even when the window is open or the air conditioning is on. However, our research has shown that when an adult smokes in a car with them, less than a third of young people ask them to stop, with over a third feeling too frightened or embarrassed to do so.
“This is not acceptable. If young people aren’t able to protect themselves against this danger, the government has a duty to do so by banning smoking in cars with young passengers”.
In the North West second-hand smoke results in at least 34,000 GP visits and over 1,100 emergency admissions to hospital each year. You can watch the video at: http://tobaccofreefutures.org/how-do-we-do-it/5-reducing-exposure-to-secondhand-smoke/smoking-in-cars-carrying-children/
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