Nurses have been urged to join a campaign and help spread the word about the serious health risks to children caused by adults smoking in cars.
Respiratory nurses and other health professionals are among 15,000 people to sign a petition as part of a British Lung Foundation (BLF) push to stop smoking in cars.
The petition was presented at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday to coincide with the publication of new research by the BLF that shows more than half of five to eight-year-olds have been exposed to cigarette smoke in a car.
“There is good evidence to show children exposed to smoking in a confined space like a car, even for a short time at, are at increased risk of developing illnesses such as asthma and cancer in later life,” said Alison Sutherland, a BLF nurse based in Nottingham.
“One car journey can have the same effect as a night in a smoky pub before the smoking ban.”
She said practice nurses and those working in hospitals could do much to get this message across to adult patients with children.
“It’s a simple message but it’s something people might not have thought about so it’s about getting that message out there,” she said. “People still respect what nurses say.”
The BLF surveyed more than 1,000 children earlier this year. Eighty-six per cent said they wanted people to stop smoking when children were in a car.
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