Nine in 10 children do not want parents to smoke

Daily Telegraph
14 September 2009

Nine out of 10 children never want to try a cigarette and want their parents who smoke to quit, Government research has found.

A generation of children are growing up thinking smoking is 'uncool' and are putting pressure on their parents to quit, ministers said. A poll of 1,000 children aged between eight and 13 found of those with a parent who smokes, 96 per cent wanted them to stop and almost two thirds would give up the chance of extra pocket money if they would.

The results were released in conjunction with a series of new adverts. Four out of 10 children said they have at least one parent who smoke, with half doing so in the home and a third doing so in the car. Three quarters of children whose parents smoke in the car were concerned about damage to their health.

Gillian Merron, Public Health Minister said: “We understand how difficult it is to stop smoking. I hope this new campaign will give mums and dads the encouragement they need to realise they can do it with help from the NHS, and support from their children.

The latest data from the NHS Information Centre found that the number of children aged between 11 and 15 who said they smoke regularly has halved since the peak in the 1990s. This emerging picture of the first ‘Smokefree Generation’ is backed up by the latest Information Centre statistics on tobacco which show that regular smoking among 11 to 15 year olds has halved since its peak in the mid 1990s.

The health risks of smoking are clear to children with nine out of ten knowing it damages the health of people around them and three quarters know that is causes cancer. Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) said: “These powerful new adverts are about tapping into emotions that children of smoking parents are experiencing on a day-to-day basis. This campaign gives smokers a clear incentive as to why they should quit and a clear guide as to how they should do so.”

Professor Terence Stephenson, President, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said: “This research is extremely significant and we need to look at the health outcomes and effects when adults smoke in the presence of their children. "It is encouraging to hear that those children who were consulted knew the health risks related to smoking and the harmful effects of people smoking around them. "It is particularly concerning that adults are still smoking in cars when children are travelling with them in the back. 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.”


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