Parents urged to take smoking right outside

Parents are urged to protect children from second hand smoke. (Image posed by models).
Parents are urged to protect children from second hand smoke. (Image posed by models).

The hidden dangers of second-hand smoke will be brought to life in a bid to urge parents to take smoking right outside, as a national tour hits Bellshill today (Thursday).

Shoppers at Tesco in Bellshill will be invited into a living room which looks completely smoke-free, but then fills with computer-generated chemicals when viewed through a tablet to show how smoke lingers.

Through the screen, they will also be able to see the harmful effects these chemicals can have on a child’s lung health.

The 29-date tour is part of the Take it Right Outside campaign which aims to reduce the number of children who are exposed to second-hand smoke in the home, and drive home that the only way to ensure children are protected is to never smoke in the home or the car.

Advisers will be on hand to speak to parents and grandparents, highlighting that smoking at the back door or an open window isn’t enough, as the harmful chemicals drift back into the home and move from room to room for up to five hours after the cigarette has been put out.

Statistics show that 11 per cent of children in Scotland are still being exposed to second-hand smoke in the home.

In 2014, the Scottish Government announced a new target of reducing the proportion of children exposed from 12 per cent to six per cent by 2020, which would have the potential to protect up to 50,000 children.

The campaign is targeting those who think they are doing enough to protect their children by highlighting the steps they can take to make their car and home smoke-free.

Minister for Public Health Maureen Watt said: “We want every child in Scotland to breathe clean air when they’re in the home or the car.

“This tour is an innovative way to bring to life the realities of the harm caused by second-hand smoke and the serious consequences it can have on a child’s health, particularly as many parents are unaware that it can linger and move around the home for up to five hours.

“We understand everyone’s situation is different, but there are small changes people can make to their smoking behaviour which will pay dividends in terms of protecting their children.”

It’s estimated that second-hand smoke exposure in UK children each year causes over 20,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infection, 120,000 cases of middle ear disease, at least 22,000 new cases of wheeze and asthma, 600 cases of bacterial meningitis, and 40 sudden infant deaths - one in five of all cot deaths2.

Irene Johnstone, head of British Lung Foundation Scotland, said: “Everybody knows that cigarette smoke is harmful.

“What we don’t all know is that more than 85 per cent of smoke is invisible and has no smell.

“Parents want to do the right thing to protect their children, but not enough people know just how dangerous second-hand smoke is, or that it can hang around a room invisibly for up to five hours.

“We have to change that so we can protect the next generation from the harmful effects.”

For help and advice visit Right Outside