News Friday July 23, 2010

Billie Piper in smoking controversy

Billie Piper has been criticised by anti-smoking campaigners after photographs showed the star, 27, seemingly blowing smoke in the direction of her 21 week old son Winston.

Professor John Britton, who is part of the anti-smoking group ASH, said Piper was irresponsible. “Adults have a high degree of protection from second-hand smoke since the public ban – and they have a moral duty to give children the same,” he said.

A spokesperson for Piper has defended her, telling reporters: “Billie is a responsible parent who values her child's health above all else. Though a smoker, she is careful to only do so outside and with consideration to those around her.”

Due to the angle from which the picture was taken, she said it was “misleading,” and “does not give a true sense of perspective in relation to the proximity of her son.”

Commentators have said the situation is ironic, given that the ex-Dr Who actress originally quit smoking when she became pregnant, for the benefit of her child.

Harmful effects

Second-hand smoke can cause a number of health problems in young children. These include bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma. In addition, children who grow up around smokers are more likely to smoke themselves when they grow up, studies have shown.

Fewer children smoking

At least anti-smoking advocates have some good news this week. A new NHS report shows that fewer children are smoking in comparison with 10 years ago. The number of children drinking and taking drugs has also fallen.

In 1982 the statistics showed that over 50% of children aged between 11 and 15 had tried smoking. This was down to 29% last year.

Quitting smoking can not only benefit your own health, but also that of your child. Smoking cessation aids can help you to give up the habit.

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