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Wednesday, March 01, 2006
By Claire O’Sullivan
ONE-FIFTH of smokers have admitted they put children at risk every day by lighting up in the same room as them, a survey has revealed.
The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) research, released today for National No Smoking Day, showed that while the majority of smokers believed tobacco exposure was "very harmful" for children, just one-third of parents who smoked kept all the rooms in their homes "smoke-free".
According to the ICS, the survey found widespread misunderstanding among smokers of the proven risks of second-hand smoking to children.
* Up to 82% of smokers were not sure whether second-hand smoking increased the risk of cot deaths or middle ear infections.
* The research also revealed that 30% of smokers don’t believe or else aren’t sure whether second-hand smoking increases the risk of coughing, wheezing or chest infections in children.
* A further 40% were uncertain whether smoking increased the risk of severe asthma in children.
ICS health promotion manager Norma Cronin said the society was publishing an information booklet Growing Up Smoke Free as they were seriously concerned by the findings. The information leaflet highlights the importance of protecting children from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
"Children are particularly vulnerable to harm as their organs and immune systems are not fully developed," Ms Cronin said.
The ICS recommends that if parents will not give up smoking, they should make the decision to never smoke around their children.
Meanwhile, Ash Ireland said it was seriously concerned about the growing number of smoking rooms in pubs around the country, accusing publicans of "circumventing workplace legislation".
Ash Ireland chairman Prof Luke Clancy described the rooms as a "toxic carcinogenic reservoir".
"Outdoor heated smoking areas were a relatively safe practice for employees but this has now been replaced by blatant abuse of the legislation. We now have new ‘pub lounges’ with seating, ashtrays, big TV screens and a full staff service."
AS National No Smoking Day marks the beginning of Lent, a Nicorette survey shows one-third of the population will give up something for Lent and one-in-five of those intend to stop smoking.
* Nearly two-thirds are quitting cigarettes this Lent for health reasons, another 19% want to save money, while 13% say they have wanted to kick the habit for a while.
* Another 58% are giving up sweets/chocolate.
* 12% are giving up alcohol.
* 9% are giving up cakes/biscuits.
* 4% are giving up junk food.
* 2% are giving up swearing.
* Women are almost twice as likely as men to give up something for Lent, with 42% of women making Lenten pledges compared to 24% of men.
* Teenagers aged 15-17 are most likely to give something up for Lent.
The National Smokers’ Quitline is 1850 201 203.
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