One of the best hospitals in the UK states 30 percent of treated minors got ill because of exposure to secondhand smoke by their parents.
Dr Ronald Clark, head of Cardiac Surgery Department at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital admits such diseases as asthma, tonsillitis, and otitis could be reduced in case parents gave up smoking habit.
Dr. Clark stated that he often had cases when parents even hidden the fact that they had been smoking in presence of children.
According to The British Department of Health more than 16,000 children under five years old are treated annually from the smoking related illnesses.
In an interview with Sunday Times, Dr Ronald Clark said that the hospital treats almost 140,000 annually. From this number, 10,000 minors got there because of exposure to secondhand smoke.
Dr. Clark said among those children treated from asthma and various ear and throat infection up to 30 percent were those who suffered from passive smoking.
Parents are often negligent with their children, particularly in such issues as smoking, since having a child and taking care of him is fun, but when it turns to renouncing from such habits like smoking it becomes rather stressful and difficult.
However, the doctor says he does not believe the stricter anti-smoking policies would contribute to reducing the issue, but thinks it is up to parents to protect their children from the hazards of secondhand smoke.
The highest level of health risk for children presents exposure to secondhand smoke in cars, what is like a gas chamber with no way out for them.
Children are also exposed to a high level of risk when mothers are smoking especially during breastfeeding and yearly years of their lives.
Other things that expose children to cigarette smoke are the clothes of smokers.
Dr. Clark even stated that the Birmingham Children’s Hospital forces its personnel to put on special clothes when going outside for a smoke in order to prevent children from smelling and breathing in the cigarette smoke from their clothes.
Dr Anna Gilmore from anti-smoking group ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) said that more than a half of all children whose parents are regular smokers have been exposed to the dangerous smoke from their birth.
She said that passive smoking is even more hazardous than active, however many smokers simply do not realize that they expose their own children to probable severe health complications, while smoking in their presence.
Dr Gilmore also stressed that after smoking has been prohibited in all indoor public places, parent-smokers should consider their homes as a public place and light up outside.
A study made public several years ago showed that minors whose parents smoked were five times more likely to start smoking themselves and two times more likely to suffer from various respiratory infections than their peers born to non-smoking parents.
The Health Department also issued a statement, admitting that passive smoking has been proven to be deadly, and therefore, they would apply every possible effort to make people aware of the hazards of cigarette smoke and prevent children from being exposed to it.
The Health Department spokesman said they have spent £50 million on Smoking Cessation Programs and Campaigns, and their efforts did not go in vain since they managed to reduce smoking rates by 1.5 percent and they plan to reduce it even more to the historical low 21 percent next year.