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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

BMA Cymru Wales supports the call for a ban on smoking in cars carrying children

You may have read this article in the news today.

BMA Cymru Wales fully supports the call for a ban on smoking in cars carrying children.

Anything that can be done to reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and ill-health as a result of smoking must be given serious consideration.

Exposure of non-smokers to second hand smoke - known as passive smoking, consists primarily of non-inhaled sidestream smoke, together with exhaled smoke.

Almost 85% of second-hand smoke is invisible and odourless gases. Only the particulate matter, in the form of smoke, is visible. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4000 toxins, including over 50 that are known to cause cancer.

Passive smoking causes illness, including fatal illness. It also worsens existing health problems.

Smoking affects many parts of the body which are listed below – in the hope that any smokers reading this will seriously consider kicking the habit!

Smoking attacks the brain. The chemicals in smoke cause the lining of the arteries in the brain to become porous which allows cholesterol, white cells and blood clots to stick to them. Clogging arteries which supply blood to the brain leaves smokers at risk of a stroke.

Passive smoking is associated with a variety of health problems in children. It increases the prevalence of lower respiratory tract illness such as pneumonia, bronchitis, bronchiolitis, coughing and wheezing. Second-hand smoke can also cause asthma in children. It also exacerbates the condition in those who are already affected. Passive smoking is also associated with cot death (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Smoking damages the eyes because it reduces the levels of plasma antioxidant – a substance in the bloodstream which protects retinal cells.

Smoking affects the nose. Smoking irritates the delicate membranes of the respiratory tract – including those inside the nose.

Smoking affects the mouth. The use of tobacco is connected to 90 per cent of oral cancers, including lip, tongue and palate. Many of the chemicals found in tobacco smoke are carcinogenic, and therefore, when the tissues of the mouth are bathed in toxic substances, this can lead to oral cancer.

Smoking affects the skin. Every in inhalation creates thousands of wrinkle-forming free radicals which attack collagen, cell membranes and the skin’s fatty layer. It is also thought that smoking impairs blood flow and lowers levels of Vitamin A which is vital for healthy skin, growth, so producing a dull, dry complexion.

Smoking affects the throat. The toxic content of smoke damages the delicate membranes of the larynx, making the smoker prone to laryngitis and in more severe cases – cancer of the larynx.

Smoking affects the lungs. Lungs are so vulnerable to damage because the tar that forms from burning tobacco and clogging the cillia – tiny hairs that protect the lungs from dirt and infection settles in them, damaging the surfaces.

Smoking damages the stomach. Chronic cigarette smoke may increase the amount of acid secreted by the stomach causing peptic ulcers – lesions in the lining of the stomach. Smoking is also linked to Crohn’s disease – an inflammation deep in the lining of the intestine.

Smoking affects the heart. Tobacco smoke produces carbon monoxide – a highly poisonous gas which combines with haemoglobin in the blood and makes breathing difficult. This reduces the body’s ability to carry oxygen – putting the heart under strain. Smokers also have a higher risk of hardening and narrowing of the arteries which can cause a wide range of cardiovascular problems.

Smoking affects the bones. Female smokers face an increased risk of developing osteoporosis – a condition that reduces bone substance and results in fragile bones that are liable to fracture.

We have a collective responsibility in society to protect children from the harms of second hand smoke. It is vital that we de-normalise the deadly habit and try to prevent the onset of smoking in young people.

What do you think of the call to ban smoking in cars carrying children? Join the debate and leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. The above does not include the fact that any person & child inhaling secondary smoke ingests cyanide amongst other poisons!
    Smoking is just a stupid unnecessary activity with no benefit for anyone and any intelligent thinking person has to agree and stop this innocuous habit anywhere! No one would condone giving a child heroin so why is cyanide/cigarette smoke OK?
    That is apart from the other dangers to other drivers from dropped burning fag ends while driving!!


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