A CAMPAIGN has been launched highlighting the dangers of secondary smoking at homes after research revealed Hastings borough had the highest levels in the county among 14-15 year olds.
Research commissioned by the county council revealed that more than half of 14 to 15 year olds live in a house where someone smokes indoors on most days exposing them to a higher risk of cancer heart disease, asthma and meningitis.
It is the highest level in East Sussex with Eastbourne at 45 per cent, Lewes and Rother at 39 per cent and Wealden at 37 per cent.
In addition to the immediate harm of breathing in second-hand smoke, children of smokers are three times more likely to start smoking themselves -
increasing their chances of further health problems in adult life.
The county council is working with partners through the East Sussex Tobacco Partnership to promote a new campaign highlighting the dangers of
second-hand smoke and what people can do to avoid it.
According to statistics collected by ESCC every year nearly 10,000 children are treated nationwide in hospital for exposure to second-hand smoke at a cost to the NHS of more than £23 million. However 68 per cent of parents who smoke admit to doing so in the car with children present.
Cynthia Lyons, East Sussex acting director of public health, said: “Some people mistakenly believe that by smoking out of the car window or standing by the kitchen door they are shielding loved-ones from the effects of smoke, but in fact 80 per cent of second-hand smoke cannot be seen and is odourless.
“By smoking around children, adults are exposing them to an invisible menace that contains 4,000 chemicals and 50 known carcinogens. The message is clear - there is no such thing as safe exposure to smoke, and the only way adults can protect children is to make their homes and cars completely smoke-free.”
The new campaign, running in conjunction with a national initiative launched by Public Health England, is being promoted through posters, leaflets and stickers and via the council’s Share A Smile Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ShareASmileSussex. Visitors to the site are being asked to make a ‘pledge’ to support the campaign