Parents in the east end of Glasgow are being urged to "stub out" smoking in the home for the sake of their children's health, in the first scheme of its kind in Scotland.
Andy Kerr, Minister for Health and Community Care, today launched the "Breathe Easy" Smoke Free Homes pilot, at NHS Greater Glasgow's Eastbank Health Promotion Centre in Shettleston.
Under the initiative parents are being asked to sign up to the Gold Pledge, and make their homes smoke free at all times, or commit themselves to the Silver Pledge, promising to allow smoking only in one well ventilated room and never smoke in front of their children.
Children are most vulnerable to second hand smoke because their lungs are still developing and less able to fight smoking related infections.
Asthmatic primary school children, babies and children under five years are particularly vulnerable and the scheme is aimed at protecting this group from the effects of second hand smoke.
Cutting out, or limiting second hand smoking at home, will reduce the risk of conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia, cot death, in addition heart disease and lung cancer in adulthood.
Second hand smoke quickly spreads to other rooms in the house sticking to clothes, walls, furniture and carpets.
"Breathe Easy" has been developed by NHS Greater Glasgow's Smoking Concerns team, together with partners from Glasgow City Council, East End Health Action, and Greater Easterhouse Community Health Project , following consultation with parents in East Glasgow.
Health Minister Andy Kerr said:"Passive smoking kills. There is no legitimate opposing argument anymore. The evidence of health risks is clear and irrefutable.In houses where both parents smoke, young children have a 72% increased risk of respiratory illnesses.
"This initiative is an excellent example of what can be done in local communities to encourage friends and families to stop smoking and reduce exposure to second-hand smoke. And it counters the argument that smoke-free public places will drive smoking back into the home.
"I commend this initiative and the parents who have taken the pledge to make their homes fully or partially smoke free."
NHS Greater Glasgow Principal Health Promotion Officer, Agnes McGowan, emphasised:"The project will help to clear the air for many families in Glasgow. It is not anti-smoker, but is a means of supporting smokers who are not ready to quit.
"Taking positive steps towards making their home smoke free and at the same time protecting their children from the effects of second hand smoke is the next best thing.
"When parents realised the potential effects of second hand smoke, they immediately agreed to support the creation of the scheme.
"It is hoped that ‘Breathe Easy' will help improve the health of the next generation living in east Glasgow.
"And as an extra bonus the names of those who take the Gold Pledge will be entered into a free prize draw to win £100 worth of DIY vouchers."
Notes to Editor
There are two types of Second Hand Smoke:
Mainstream is smoke that has been exhaled by the smoker.
Sidestream is smoke which comes directly from the end of the cigarette, is the most toxic and is in the greatest concentration, containing 4000 chemicals, 50 of which are known to cause cancer.
85% of Second Hand Smoke is an invisible and odourless gas– but equally as harmful as the smoke we can see and smell
In the East End of Glasgow 44 per cent of the population smoke, compared to 37 per cent of the of the city population.
67% of the population in the East of Glasgow are exposed to other people's smoke some or most of the time.
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