The end of smoking in cars to protect children and young people?
Nearly 200 leading public health figures will be asked to pledge their support for a ban on smoking in cars carrying children and young people at the Making Smoking History for Our Children conference on March 5 at Manchester Central.
Second hand smoke in enclosed spaces, such as cars, is particularly dangerous. Tobacco smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, 69 of which are carcinogenic and side stream smoke [smoke from the side of the cigarette] is four times more toxic than mainstream smoke. The second hand smoke from one cigarette in a car is 23 times more toxic than second hand smoke in a house .
Dr Janet Atherton, Chair of Smokefree North West which has organised the event, said: “Second hand smoke is inflicted upon many children in the North West – they often don’t have a choice when people are smoking near them. Breathing smoke in an enclosed space such as a car is extremely damaging to the health of the child. Smoking around newborns can not only cause delayed lung and other organ development, but it also significantly increases the risk of cot death. For older children, exposure increases the likelihood of asthma, flu, conjunctivitis, nasal infections and respiratory failure. We need to reduce the harm to the region’s children now.”
Experts such as Prof. Gerard Hastings from Stirling University, Dr Jude Robinson, Liverpool University and Andrew Black, Dept of Health Tobacco Programme Manager, will lead discussions on how to end the tobacco epidemic in the North West.
With this conference and pledge, the North West is taking a lead in protecting children and young people from second hand smoke. Nationally, over 17,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital each year due to the affects of second hand smoke . Between 900 and 1600 people are killed by second hand smoke related illnesses in the North West each year .
Dr Ruth Hussey, OBE, Regional Director of Public Health for NHS North West, said: “The NW has the highest rate of smoking of all regions and we must do all we can to reduce this. Helping young people never to start smoking and to be protected from other peoples smoke is essential.”
Smoking remains the single largest preventable cause of early death, killing more than alcohol, obesity, drugs and road accidents together – it is responsible for 80,000 deaths in England each year and nearly 13,000 in the North West – that’s 35 deaths every day.
The conference marks the start of the process to develop a 10-year strategy to make smoking history for our children in the North West. Mr Black will present the vision of the new national tobacco strategy and Dr Robinson will discuss protecting children from addiction and exposure to tobacco. Prof Hastings, who was also the Special Advisor to the House of Commons Select Committee on Health in their investigation of the tobacco industry will give a hard hitting speech on putting more trust in the people of the region to create social change and reduce tobacco related health inequalities.
Keynote speaker, Dr Patrick Dixon, global change expert and futurist, comments: “Smoking has fallen in response to government action but we have far to go. Taxes need to increase as the cost of smoking is the same in real terms as it was 15 years ago. Existing laws should be enforced, and made consistent with alcohol – tobacco retailers should be licensed which would mean numbers of outlets could be controlled. And finally, advertising bans need to be tightened now rather than waiting to 2013 for the ban on larger retailers selling tobacco to come into force.”
There are 83,000 young smokers across the North West and many more recruited each year. Smoking is a childhood addiction – four out of five of smokers start before they are 19 years old – and half will be killed by the habit if they continue smoking.
Prof. Hastings explains how being around tobacco smoke can set a social norm for children and encourage them to start smoking: “We have made enormous progress with the fight against tobacco. Currently smokers are giving up like never before and young people are rejecting the tricks of the tobacco industry.
“Finally putting paid to tobacco will depend on policy makers, stakeholders and health professionals doing their bit, but above all ordinary people need to be engaged and empowered in the process of change. We need to put our trust in their common sense and everyday wisdom to ensure that tobacco finally becomes history.”
Dr Janet Atherton, Director of Public Health
Janet has been Director of Public Health for NHS Sefton and the Council since 2006, having previously been Director of Public Health for South Sefton Primary Care Trust since 2002.
She moved to Sefton having been Director of Public Health in Wirral for four years. Janet has been responsible for the development of the Sefton Public Health Partnership, which brings together the PCT, the Council and the voluntary and community sector partners to improve health and tackle health inequalities in Sefton.
She is also the Chair for Smoke Free North West and has a long standing involvement in tobacco control.
Dr Patrick Dixon, Futurist, Globalchange.com
Coauthor, SustainAgility. Author, Futurewise and Building A Better Business.
Patrick Dixon is often described in the media as Europe’s leading futurist and is ranked as one of the world’s 20 most influential business thinkers alive by Thinkers 50 (2005). He is a physician by first training and author of 12 books in 24 languages including Futurewise and Building A Better Business. His websites have had 11 million unique visitors and over 700,000 have watched his videos.
He advises many of the world’s largest organisations on key trends, managing uncertainty, identifying risk and developing opportunities. Dr. Dixon is currently working on a forthcoming book with coauthor Johan Gorecki, titled SustainAgiltiy: How Smart Innovation and Agile Companies will Help Protect Our Future (May 2010).
Dr Jude Robinson
Jude Robinson is a social anthropologist with a strong interest in the health and lifestyles of people living in urban areas. Over the last five years, her research has focussed on secondhand smoke in home settings, exploring the issues of ‘why’, ‘when’ and ‘where’ parents and carers of young children choose to smoke, and their perceptions of the impact that smoking has on their own health and on the health of babies and young children. Although much of her depth ethnographic work has centred on communities in her home town of Liverpool, in 2008 she joined a team lead by the University of Edinburgh conducting a gender and diversity based analysis of two large qualitative data sets researching the introduction of smoking legislation in Scotland. She has researched the issues affecting the delivery and outcome of training for health and social care professionals to reduce children’s secondhand smoke exposure, commissioned by the Roy Castle Lung Foundation. More recently, she explored (with Amanda Amos) how young people continue to access tobacco in the Midlands. She is currently leading a research project with Alder Hey Children’s NHS Trust and Liverpool PCT to research the feasibility of developing a clinician-lead secondhand smoke intervention with parents and carers attending out-patient clinics with their children at Alder Hey.
Dr Ruth Hussey, OBE
Ruth is the Regional Director of Public Health/Medical Director at NHS North West. She is also seconded into the Department of Health and is co-located with other Government Departments in Government Office North West, based in City Tower, Manchester. Her remit includes:
- Health Improvement and Health Inequalities
- Clinical Leadership
- Public Health contribution to NHS service delivery
- Health Protection and emergency planning
- Local Area Agreements
- Ensuring that Social Care is integrated into the Department of Health in the Region
Previously, Ruth held the posts of Director of Health Strategy/Medical Director at Cheshire and Merseyside Strategic Health Authority (April 2002 – July 2006) and between November 2005 and June 2006, Ruth was also the Acting Director of Public Health /Medical Director at Greater Manchester Strategic Health Authority.
Prior to this Ruth held the post of Director of Public Health for Liverpool (1991 – 2002).
Professor Gerard Hastings
Gerard Hastings is the first UK Professor of Social Marketing and founder/director of two research centres: Centre for Tobacco Control Research (1999); and the Institute for Social Marketing (1993). These are based at the University of Stirling under a joint venture agreement with the Open University. The Centre for Tobacco Control Research is widely recognised as the leading institution in the United Kingdom for research into the necessity, design and efficacy of tobacco control policies generally, and the regulation of tobacco marketing in particular. It receives core funding from Cancer Research UK. The Institute for Social Marketing researches the applicability of marketing principles such as consumer orientation and relationship building to the solution of health and social problems. It also conducts critical marketing research into the impact of potentially health damaging marketing, such as tobacco advertising and fast food promotion.
Gerard is the UK Principal Investigator on the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Study and is the Chair of the HELP campaign Advisory Board. He was a Special Advisor to House of Commons Select Committee on Health in their investigation of the tobacco industry, provides regular guidance on tobacco issues to the Scottish, UK and European Parliaments and the World Health Organisation, and has also acted as an expert witness in litigation against the tobacco industry.
Tobacco Programme Manager at the Department of Health.
Until October 2007, Andrew led the Department’s Smokefree Legislation Team. Andrew has also worked in other fields with the Department of Health including medicine regulation, social services inspection and was the private secretary to the Health Minister Lord Warner. Growing up in Melbourne, Australia, Andrew studied geography at the University of New South Wales and has post graduate qualifications in communications and in management. Andrew is also a graduate of the Australian Defence Force Academy and Royal Australian Air Force College and served as a Royal Australian Air Force officer for ten years.
 American Journal of Public Health, 2009
 John Dawson scoping report Nov 2007
 ASH Report: Impact of Second Hand Smoke on Children, April 2006