Smoking peril warning to parents

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A HOSPITAL consultant is urging parents to protect their children from harmful effects of smoking.

Campaigners say more mums and dads in Hartlepool and across the North-East are keeping their children safe from toxic tobacco smoke by refusing to light up indoors.

The North-East has seen a nine per cent rise in the number of smokers who keep their homes smoke free following the launch of the Take 7 Steps Out campaign by the Fresh North East group, according to research by the University of Bath.

It found 52 per cent of smokers say their homes are smoke free this year, compared to 43 per cent in 2010. Dr Jagat Jani, clinical director for family health and consultant paediatrician for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the University Hospital of Hartlepool, said: “Most parents are horrified when they realise their smoking may be making their child unwell. Too many children are still subjected to dangers of smoking in confined spaces such as the home and the car.”

The Take 7 Steps Out campaign is part of a wider programme that has so far trained over 500 front line health, local authority and children’s centre staff across the region to give advice to parents on the best ways to protect children from second-hand smoke.

The North-East has seen the biggest decline in smoking in England, from 29 per cent of people smoking in 2005 down to 22 per cent of people in 2009.

But smoking remains the single biggest preventable cause of early death, killing 15 people a day and 5,500 a year in the North-East.

This is more than deaths than from alcohol, drugs, obesity, illegal drugs and road accidents combined.

For help quitting phone Stockton and Hartlepool NHS Stop Smoking Service on (01642) 635650.