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Children call for smokefree homes and cars

A new hard-hitting campaign, highlighting the shocking truth behind secondhand smoke will hit our TV screens in the North East tonight.

New TV and radio adverts will show that smoking by a window or the backdoor is not enough to protect children from secondhand smoke. Over 80 per cent of secondhand smoke is invisible. This contains harmful cancer causing toxins and poisons that are unknowingly damaging children across the country every day.

Millions of children in the UK are exposed to secondhand smoke that puts them at increased risk of lung disease, meningitis and cot death. It results in over 300,000 GP visits, 9,500 hospital visits in the UK each year and costs the NHS more than a staggering £23.6 million every year.

The only way to completely protect people from secondhand smoke is to make homes and cars entirely smokefree. As the campaign launches, a new survey reveals that children in the North East want smokefree lives. The survey found that in the North East:

– 99 per cent of children with parents that smoke wish their parents would stop smoking;
– 97 per cent of children with parents that smoke wish their parents wouldn’t smoke in front of them at home;
– 85 per cent of the children with parents that smoke wished their parents wouldn’t smoke in front of them in the car;
– 39 per cent of children with parents that smoke said cigarette smoke made them feel ill; and
– 46 per cent of children with parents that smoke said cigarette smoke made them cough.

Fresh Smoke Free North East is backing the radio campaign with extra slots on North East stations. 

Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh, which runs the Smokefree Families programme for NHS and council staff in the North East which has seen over 750 professionals trained in protecting children, said:

“When a cigarette burns, the smoke contains thousands of toxic chemicals including tar, hydrogen cyanide and arsenic.

“Many parents do already take steps such as opening a window, but this doesn’t stop the toxic poisons contained in smoke filling a room or a car and children breathing it in. These fumes can hang around for hours.

“The only way to protect your child is to make your home or car completely smokefree.”


Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said

“We all know smoking kills but not enough people realise the serious effect that secondhand smoke can have on the health of others, particularly children.

“This campaign will raise awareness of this danger and encourage people to take action to protect others from secondhand smoke.

“This is just one part of our wider strategy on tobacco. We need to do more. That is why next week we will end tobacco displays in large shops. We will also be consulting on plain packaging this spring.”

Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said:

“Secondhand smoke can cause a range of serious health problems for children and adults. Smoking damages our lungs, causes cancers and is now the biggest risk for cot death. Parents who smoke need to think about the effect it has on their family.

“Giving up smoking or making sure you have a completely smokefree home and car is the only way to protect your family.

“If people do want to quit there is excellent support and advice available. Get in touch with your local stop smoking service, GP or pharmacist or visit”

Smokers can order a new NHS Smokefree Kit by texting POISONS to 63818 or by visiting for facts, tips and tools to help them on the way to a smokefree future.