Introducing a smoking ban in the home for under 18s, is a no-brainer for me, a former smoker in my 20s, I understand the appeal and addiction more than most but I wholeheartedly believe that smoking should be banned anywhere that isn’t an open space i.e. the countryside.
Tobacco lobbyists and smoking advocates are unsurprisingly harping on that smoking is their human right but how about the human rights of those inhaling their unsolicited second hand smoke? What then?
When the ban of smoking in cars for under 18s came into force in the UK in 2015, and in all restaurants, bars and clubs in 2007, many applauded the changes to the law.
It set a precedent for smokers and frankly made it harder for people to have a fag. Many of my own friends quit the habit as felt the faff of smoking just wasn’t worth the effort.
What was once deemed a sociable activity by some suddenly became ANTISOCIAL as smokers were forced to leave their meals/ drinks/friends/ families and hang around on doorsteps, most freezing their butts off (literally and metaphorically) thanks to the frequently cold temperatures we suffer in the UK…
I discussed this research on BBC Radio 5 Live a few nights ago in what became quite the heated debate with others arguing that most parents would smoke in a dedicated room in their home (this is simply anecdotal), and why should they have to leave their own properties, to smoke.
My thoughts are that smokers need to take to the ‘great outdoors’ to smoke cigarettes if they so wish, far from their children, and pets who are also affected by secondary smoke.
The study shows that smoke exposure of 10 or more hours each week increased children’s risk of death from ischemic heart disease by 27%, stroke by 23% and chronic obstructive lung disease by 42% compared to those who lived with non-smokers.
Those are significant statistics.
Thanks to anti-smoking education from primary level and beyond, children are fully informed and aware of the dangers of smoking, and reflecting on my own experience as a child who always distressed when my grandfather smoked (never in our house by the way), most will no doubt, feel they same as I did.
Children are taught that smoking kills so fear surrounding smoking would be a natural response.
Smoking in front of minors normalises the activity too (as well as causing a fire risk) so anything that actively discourages smoking around under 18s is an undoubtedly positive move.
If smoking were indeed banned in the home, it would of course prove hard to monitor and regulate (cars are more visible) but it would nonetheless, surely dissuade smokers, protecting children in the process.
We ALL have a duty of care towards children, a responsibility to ensure healthy outcomes, safeguarding their future.
We all know quitting is the answer.
Dr Nick Hopkinson, medical adviser to the British Lung Foundation, said,
‘Passive smoking has a lasting impact well beyond childhood. Unfortunately, stop smoking services in the UK are being cut. We need to make sure that everyone, especially parents of young children and pregnant women who smoke, get the help they need to quit’.