The British Heart Foundation urge Wester Hailes parents to keep summer road trips smoke-free in a bid to protect children from the harmful effects second-hand smoke.
With families hitting the road to make the most of the good weather, parents are being reminded to take smoking right outside of the car this summer.
Research shows that if people smoke in the car, even with the window open, harmful chemicals from cigarette smoke reach dangerous levels in less than 60 seconds. Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals and with children having faster breathing rates than adults, it does even more harm to a child’s lungs.
The drive to keep summer car journeys smoke-free is part of the Scottish Government’s Take it Right Outside campaign which aims to give parents the facts so they can smoke in a way that doesn’t harm their children.
It is estimated that second-hand smoke exposure in UK children each year causes over 20,000 cases of lower respiratory tract infection, 120,000 cases of middle ear disease, at least 22,000 new cases of wheeze and asthma, 200 cases of bacterial meningitis, and 40 sudden infant deaths – one in five of all cot deaths.
Dr James Cant, British Heart Foundation said: “If you smoke in the car with children in the back, even with the window open, the reality is that you are exposing them to dangerous levels of harmful chemicals almost immediately.
“We have to get second-hand smoke right out of our cars and homes and away from children. Every parent wants to do the right thing to protect their kids and we’re working to ensure people have the facts and support to help change.”
Dr Miriam Stoppard, OBE added: “I count myself as an early adopter of the belief that passive smoking causes untold harm, especially to children and babies. In fact the dangers of passive smoking have been a professional interest for me for many years and I’ve kept up to date with research on the topic.
“There are more than 4,000 toxic chemicals in second-hand smoke and 60 of them are carcinogens which are known to cause cancer and mutations in living cells. I applaud the Scottish Government for this campaign to highlight the dangers of second-hand smoke.”