Many parents smoke inside the car and damage their child’s health

A new study that has been released online and due to appear in the December 2012 issue of ‘Pediatrics’ has revealed that parents will often carelessly expose their children to tobacco smoke in their cars. This is even happening when the parents are still adopting a ‘smoke-free’ policy inside the home.

In the study, researchers from MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) quizzed 795 parents who were smokers, regarding their car-smoking policy and behaviour. Specifically, investigators were trying to determine whether or not the parents actually left their children exposed to tobacco smoke inside the car.

The parents were interviewed upon leaving their child’s doctors’ office in one of 10 paediatric practices, spanning eight U.S. states. The results showed that 73% of parents acknowledged that there had been someone smoking inside their car within the previous three months.

There were 562 parents who had not bothered to adopt a ‘smoke-free’ policy for themselves or others inside the car, and almost half (48%) of this total admitted that they had smoked in the car when their child was present.

Many of the parents said they adhered to a strict no-smoking policy inside the home; however only 24% said that they also had a ‘strictly enforced’ smoke-free in their car.

In addition, some statistics attained from the interviews shows that there is definitely a lot more work to be done in regards to how paediatricians can play their part in encouraging parents to completely protect their children from cigarette smoke.

It was found that only approximately one-fifth of the parents claimed that the paediatric health care provider had bothered to ask them about their smoking status. Moreover, only 12% of parents reported that they have received advice to refrain from lighting-up inside their cars.

Emara Nabi-Burza, MBBS, MS, the study’s lead author, says those parents who smoke need to take more responsibility for protecting their children and recognise the huge negative impact that tobacco smoke can have on their child’s health.

Emara commented: “Workplaces, restaurants, homes and even bars are mostly smoke-free, but cars have been forgotten. Smoking in cars is not safe for motorists and non-smokers – especially children, who have no way to avoid tobacco smoke exposure in their parent’s car. Now that we know the magnitude of the problem, paediatricians and the public can act to help these children.”

Involuntary/secondhand smoking (SHS) such as the aforementioned example, is an incredibly understated subject that Medical Specialists believe the government and health authorities need to put more work into, in an attempt to reduce it. Babies and new-borns are a particularly major high-risk group when it comes to SHS. A mother who smokes during her pregnancy will leave the unborn baby with a decreased oxygen supply and the baby will have raised levels of carbon monoxide in their bloodstream.

Other problems that could therefore arise include the baby having a low birth weight, miscarriage, premature birth or sudden infant death syndrome; whereby babies of mothers who smoke are twice as likely to die from this compared to babies carried by a non-smoker. Children that are exposed to SHS, such as when their parents smoke in their cars, could be left with long-term suffering from persistent colds, ear infections, pneumonia, bronchitis, and severe asthma. SHS can severely impact lung growth in children and can then cause them to cough, wheeze, and suffer with breathlessness.

If you are a parent and this article has concerned you, it is not too late to make some positive changes to your life to improve the health of both you and your children. For example, never allow smoke into your house. If you, a friend or family member wants to smoke, go outside to do it. Explain this policy to your guests when they enter your home and do not put out any ashtrays around the house. Also do not allow smoke into your car. If you or a passenger wishes to smoke, stop at a place where you or they can smoke outside of the vehicle.

For anyone who does smoke though and wishes to stop for good, whether a parent or not, allow Medical Specialists to help you with hugely effective smoking cessation treatment. Champix is a prescription medication that works out from as little as just £75.00 per pack, an incredibly small price when it comes to your long-term health and the health of those around you. Champix mimics the effect of nicotine on the body, reducing the urge to smoke and relieving withdrawal symptoms. It can also decrease the enjoyment you experience of smoking if you are still smoking whilst on the treatment.

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