The Big Pledge campaign
March 22, 2011 - More than 460 children in Coventry were rushed to hospital last year with diseases linked to passive smoking. (Coventry is a city and metropolitan borough in the county of West Midlands in England. Coventry is the 9th largest city in England and the 11th largest in the United Kingdom. More Coventry..
The youngsters – all aged 16 or under – needed emergency treatment for meningitis, asthma, pneumonia and chest infections. That accounts for nearly one in 10 kids seen in A&E at University Hospital during the last 12 months. It has raised fears that passive smoking (second hand smoking, shs, environmental tobacco smoking, involuntary smoking, sidestrea smoke) putting thousands of Coventry children at risk.
Now parents are being urged to make a Big Pledge to protect their children by stopping smoking.
Councillor Joseph Clifford, chair of Coventry’s Smokefree Alliance, urged parents to stop smoking in front of their kids, even if they could not quit.
“In recent days we have seen a lot of pain and suffering in Japan that we can do nothing about,” he said.
“Smoking is a problem we can do something about, particularly smoking in front of children.” This month the government announced a ban on tobacco displays in shops to stop the industry recruiting young smokers. (UK - Tobacco Plan A Victory For Public Health..)
But many parents continue to advertise cigarettes to their children and put them at risk by smoking. Estimates suggest at least nine out of every 10 city kids have a close family member who smokes heavily. Do you love your children.. Do you want the best for your children.. Then don't let people smoke around your children.. Do you get it..
Breathing in second-hand smoke increases the risk of children suffering meningitis, asthma, pneumonia, chest infections and ear diseases. Passive smoking is the biggest, but not only, cause of such illnesses.
Children are frequently exposed to particularly high concentrations of second-hand smoke in cars. An open window offers little protection. So the British Lung Foundation is campaigning to ban smoking in cars with children in. (UK - Brits to petition govt to put a stop to adults smoking in cars when youngsters are present..)
Regional spokesman Jeremy Bacon said the charity was not trying to boss people around but protect kids. He said: “We go through the trouble of strapping our children in because we want them to be safe. But at the same time we potentially damage them by lighting up a cigarette.”
The Shadow Project runs classes in most city schools to teach children about the dangers of smoking. The charity invited the Telegraph to Barrs Hill School, in Radford, to watch a session with 11-year-old pupils. This revealed a shocking snapshot of the problem in Coventry.
More than 95 percent had close family who smoked and one girl admitted trying cigarettes herself. Nicky Radcliffe, healthy lifestyle co-ordinator for the Shadow Project, said that picture was repeated across the city. She hoped the pupils would convince more to quit altogether.
More than a quarter of adults in Coventry continue to smoke, well above the national average. So the Telegraph is backing The Big Pledge campaign, which offers smokers free NHS help to quit.
City health trust NHS Coventry – which is spearheading the campaign – hopes parents will seize this opportunity and make a Big Pledge to protect their children by kicking the habit for good.
Get more details on the Big Pledge at www.coventrytelegraph.net or www.thebigpledge.co.uk.
For help to quit in Coventry text PLEDGE followed by your name and address to 81025 or call 0800 051 1310.
Sign the British Lung Foundation’s children’s charter petition visit Children's Charter.
Reference: Passive smoking 'puts 460 Coventry kids in hospital', coventrytelegraph.net, 2/22/2011.