ASH comment on Government smokefree homes & cars campaign

Tuesday 04 June 2013

ASH welcomes the launch today of a campaign by Public Health England  to raise awareness of the harm caused by secondhand smoke and to encourage people to make their homes and cars smokefree.  [1]

Up to 5 million children across the UK are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke in the home resulting in over 300,000 UK GP consultations and about 9,500 hospital admissions for illnesses including respiratory disorders, middle ear disease, meningitis, cot death and asthma.  [2]

But it’s not just children who would benefit from smokefree environments.  Adults too  are at risk from secondhand smoke exposure.  Following implementation of the 2007 public places smokefree law there was a significant reduction in the number of admissions to hospital for heart disease, equivalent to 1200 fewer emergency admissions. [3]  Other research revealed a 4.9% reduction in admissions to hospital for asthma among adults which can also attributed to the positive impact of the smokefree law. This equates to around 1900 fewer emergency admissions for asthma in each of the first 3 years after the law was introduced.  [4]

A parliamentary inquiry into smoking in private vehicles called on the Government to hold a consultation on the range of policy measures available to reduce the harm of smoking in cars.  [5]

ASH Chief Executive, Deborah Arnott, said:

“The evidence is clear: exposure to secondhand smoke causes serious illnesses and sometimes even death in both adults and children.  To further minimise these health risks smokers should be encouraged to quit and everyone should  make their homes and cars smokefree.”   


Notes and Links

[1]  For more information contact the Public Health England Press Office: 0207 654 8400    Out of hours telephone 0208 200 4400

[2]  Passive smoking and children.  Royal College of Physicians, London, 2010

[3] Sims M, Maxwell R, Bauld L & Gilmore A.  The short-term impact of smokefree legislation in England: a retrospective analysis on hospital admissions for myocardial infarction.  BMJ 2010; 340: c2161. doi: 10.1136/bmj.c2161

[4]  Sims M, Maxwell R & Gilmore A.  Short-term impact of the smokefree legislation in England on emergency hospital admissions for asthma among adults: a population-based study.  Thorax 15 April 2013 doi: 10.1136/thoraxjnl-2012-202841

[5]  All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health.  Inquiry into smoking in private vehicles.  2011