News Monday August 9, 2010

Smoking around children labelled ‘child abuse’

Mothers and Fathers who smoke around their children are putting them at such dangerous risk that it should be considered child abuse, says a leading GP.

The effects of second hand smoke can be extremely damaging. Children who are exposed to smoke run a higher risk of suffering from a variety of conditions including asthma and bronchia illness, they are also more likely to start smoking themselves.

Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Professor Steve Field believes that it’s time for people in the United Kingdom to take serious responsibility for their and their children’s, health. He called on smokers, drinkers, and obese people to combat childhood disease by becoming healthier role models.

In a letter in The Observer, yesterday, Professor Field stated that parents who smoke in cars are guilty of ‘committing a form of child abuse’. “Evidence from the US indicates that more young children are killed by parental smoking than by all other unintentional injuries combined”, said Professor Field, who treats around 42,000 people across the UK.

There have been recent calls for the smoking ban to be expanded to such areas as parks, pub gardens, and a ban on smoking in cars. However, further smoking legislations are unlikely to be implemented by the new coalition government who have refused to review existing smoking laws.

“Public support for the smoke-free law is high and continues to grow. Even a majority of smokers now support the law. Because of this, we see no reason to review it”, said the government’s Public Health Minister, Anne Milton.

Mrs Milton believes that because of the public’s support of the smoking ban, children are already being spared from encountering second hand smoke. “Many families are now voluntarily making their homes smoke-free, reducing children's exposure to second-hand smoke”, she stated.

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