Smoke free environments
It is estimated that nearly two million children in the UK are regularly exposed to the dangers of second hand smoke. Second hand smoke can be visible, when a person is actually smoking. It can also be invisible, lingering on furniture, clothes and even paintwork after the cigarette is extinguished. Second hand smoke is shown to increase health risks for children and babies. This includes asthma, middle ear infections and lower respiratory tract infections, while maternal smoking is linked to miscarriage and still birth. Babies who live in homes where there are smokers have increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome compared to those in smoke free homes. Smoking in the car is illegal if the child is under 16 as practitioner it would be helpful to inform parents of this www.gov.uk/government/news/smoking-in-cars-with-children-banned-from-today
Supporting parents and carers to stop smoking
Stopping smoking before or from conception is the best possible option for their unborn baby. There are many resources available from Health Promotion services, which can help communicate the benefits of stopping smoking or switching to e-cigarettes. While vaping from e-cigarettes may not be 100% safe, most of the chemicals causing smoking-related disease are absent and the chemicals that are present pose limited danger. It had previously been estimated that e-cigarettes are around 95% safer than smoking.
For any practitioner working with parents, grandparents and other care-givers who smoke, it’s important to motivate to improve safety through the opportunity to promote the following key messages:
- The best thing that parents and carers can do is to quit smoking and make their homes smoke-free.
For parents and carers who are not ready to quit, the following steps should be promoted to help them reduce the risks to children and others in the home:
- Do not smoke indoors, leaning out of a window, in doorways or in your car (even with the window open).
- Do not allow others to smoke in the home or the car.
- If there is a need to smoke, go outside and move away from the door.
- Nicotine replacement therapy (e.g. an inhalator, nicotine patches, lozenges, sublingual tablet, mouth or nasal spray, or gum) can help people smoke less.
To set a good example to children, smokers should not smoke in front of them or, where possible, allow others to do so.
Further resources and information
Live Well Bristol
LiveWell Bristol makes it easy for people to access health advice and local services in Bristol. The website is for anyone aged 16 and over who’d like some advice about local stop smoking services, weight management, support with drinking, getting active and general wellbeing.
NHS Choices information available to Support to Stop Smoking