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Call for child smoke crack-down

Wednesday March 24th, 2010

Smoking in the home continues to pose a major threat to the health of millions of children, British experts said today.

As many as two million children in the UK are exposed to tobacco smoke in the home at any one time, according to the Royal College of Physicians' tobacco advisory group.

The experts blame this "passive smoking" for hundreds of diseases, including 200 cases of bacterial meningitis each year - and 40 infant deaths.

There are also some 120,000 cases of middle ear disease and more than 20,000 cases of sore throat and chest infection.

The RCP estimates this means an annual cost to the British NHS of more than £23 million.

Campaigners welcomed the report.

Betty McBride, of the British Heart Foundation, said: "The tragedy of passive smoking is the lives cut short or ruined through ill-health as a result of someone else?s deadly habit."

And Janet Davies, of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "Today's report should come as a stark warning to anyone who smokes around babies and children. The serious damage second-hand smoke causes to the long-term health and well-being of children is entirely avoidable and must be prevented."

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health backed a call for cars to be made smoke-free.

President Professor Terence Stephenson said: "Second-hand smoke has been found to be strongly linked to chest infections in children, asthma, ear problems and sudden infant death syndrome, or cot death."

The report calls for a range of measures, including new restrictions on access to tobacco, and media campaigns to make homes smoke-free.

Professor John Britton, who chaired the advisory group, said: "This report isn't just about protecting children from passive smoking, it's about taking smoking completely out of children's lives."

Tags: Child Health | Drug and Alcohol Abuse | NHS | Respiratory | UK News

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