Letters: Protect children from passive smoking

Letters: The British Lung Foundation launched a petition calling for a ban on smoking in cars where children are present after a survey found that 86% of parents support this ban

This week the UK Faculty of Public Health launched its campaign calling for a ban on smoking in cars where children are present after receiving overwhelming support from its YouGov poll, showing 74% of the public would support such a ban (Report, 18 August).

The British Lung Foundation launched a petition calling for a ban on smoking in cars where children are present after a Mumsnet survey found that 86% of parents support this ban. This follows the recent report by the Royal College of Physicians, Passive Smoking and Children, which confirms that passive smoking is a leading cause of death and disease in children. The report revealed 22,000 new cases each year of wheeze and asthma are caused as a direct result of passive smoking, and that smoking just one cigarette, even with the car window open, creates a greater concentration of second hand smoke than a whole evening smoking in a pub or a bar.

The Mumsnet survey found that over half of parents questioned were smokers or had smoked in the past. Of past smokers, 5% had smoked in the car with the window open when travelling with their kids. This figure rose to 13% among current smokers. More worryingly, the same amount thought lighting up had no impact on their children.

A number of charities and medical organisations support this campaign, including the Royal College of Paediatrics, Child Health and Quit. The British Lung Foundation encourages anyone who supports this ban to sign our petition at www.lunguk.org. The overwhelming support by charities and the public can no longer be ignored. We call on UK governments to introduce a ban on smoking in the car when children are passengers, so children are protected from the damaging effects of passive smoke.

Katherine Huntly

British Lung Foundation

The GuardianTramp

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