Submit your email address below to receive email updates from Cumbria24.
Arsenic, toilet cleaner and nail varnish remover aren’t the usual ingredients you would give your children over the summer holidays – but parents who smoke in Cumbria are being reminded that this could be the case unless they take ‘7 steps’ out of the house when smoking.
The advice follows a series of sessions which took place in Cumbria over the last year as part of the ‘Chemical Soup’ initiative which educated parents, volunteers and health workers about the dangers of second hand cigarette smoke.
Developed by children’s charity Barnardo’s working in partnership with Tobacco Free Futures, the ‘chemical soup kit’ complete with cooking pot and fake hazardous liquids, was presented to attendees in a fun and visual way and highlighted some of the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke. Of more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, 60 are known to cause cancer as well as avoidable childhood illnesses.
A new survey of more than 1000 participants who completed the training revealed that almost three quarters (71%) who indicated their homes were not smoke free before the session pledged to make their homes smoke free following it.
Linda Hodgson, 48, Deputy Team Leader for the Family Support Team at Barnardo's Allerdale said: "It really shocked me to learn that secondhand smoke can cause Glue Ear in children. And I was surprised to find that the smoke that comes off the end of a cigarette is 4 times more harmful that the smoke that's inhaled by the person smoking."
This community activity was the next stage of the successful Take 7 Steps Out campaign – which encourages smokers to smoke outside of their home, especially when children are in the house - and delivered jointly by Tobacco Free Futures and Barnardo’s.
* Secondhand smoke results in at least 34,000 GP consultations a year in the NW and over 1,100 hospital admissions. (Based on Royal College of Physicians: Passive smoking and children. A report by the Tobacco Advisory Group. London: RCP, March 2010).
* Secondhand smoke makes children really poorly – chest infections, ear infections leading to operations - they end up going to the doctors or hospital often and miss days at school. Many cot deaths could also be prevented by keeping smoke right away from the home.
* Smoke from the end of a burning cigarette - ‘side stream’ smoke - is four times more toxic than mainstream smoke
* Many parents believe they are already taking action to protect their children, but may not realise that their actions don’t go far enough.
* Secondhand smoke in enclosed spaces is extremely toxic for everyone. But children and young people whose lungs are still developing - and who mostly don’t have a choice about whether they breathe it - are the most vulnerable.
Picture shows Linda Hodgson Deputy Team Leader for the Family Support Team at Barnardo's Allerdale and Chemical Soup Trainer, Kirsty Iveson