Why 68% of UK Residents Believe Smoking Should Be Banned in the Home

11th March 2015

Smokers across the UK will be neglecting their daily nicotine intake on Wednesday, 11th March 2015 as part of National No Smoking Day.

Smoking is already banned in public venues, and a law is soon to be introduced banning the use of cigarettes in cars with young children. However, with children in mind, over two-thirds of the British public believe that smoking in the home should be banned in the presence of infants, as they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke contains more than 4,000 substances. Many of these are known to be a cause of cancer in both humans and animals. Second-hand smoke is a combination of the smoke that comes from a burning cigarette and the smoke that smokers inhale. Second-hand smoke exposure is often referred to as passive or involuntary smoking and exposure to it has been shown to increase heart disease risks as well as cancer risks.

Children are especially susceptible to the harming effects of second-hand smoke because they are still going through a physical development stage. They have a higher breathing rate than adults, and don't have much control over their indoor surroundings. Children exposed to large amounts of second-hand smoke are at the highest relative risk of experiencing damage to their health.

It is believed that children exposed to second-hand smoke are at a higher risk of middle ear infection and asthma, even if they have previously exhibited no symptoms of the condition. As well as causing new cases of asthma, inhaling second-hand smoke can trigger an asthma attack and cause asthma symptoms to become more severe.

Infants and children aged six or younger are at a greater risk of lower respiratory tract infections, such as pneumonia and bronchitis, if regularly exposed to second-hand smoke.

Children who inhale second-hand smoke can also be more susceptible to tooth decay, coughs and the common cold. Other symptoms that can be caused by second-hand smoke include headache, eye irritation, sore throat and hoarseness. Children exposed to second-hand smoke wheeze and cough more than children who do not live with smokers.

It seems that people in the UK are becoming more and more aware of the health effects that smoking in the home can have on children. Research by eMoov.co.uk found that 68% of Britain's citizens would be in favour of a move to ban smoking in the home if infants and children are present. 63%of males and 71% of females strongly agreed that this should be the case. People aged between 16 and 24 had the strongest opinions about the issue of smoking in the home, with 372 of those surveyed within this bracket believing a ban should be placed. The area of the country that was most in favour of a ban on smoking in homes with children was Sheffield, where a huge 78% of those asked were in agreement with the idea.

In October this year, it will become illegal for anyone in the country to smoke in their cars if children are present. The move aims to protect children under 18 from the dangers of second-hand smoke. Anyone caught breaking the new law could be fined £50. With this ban coming into place and so many people in the UK against smoking in the homes of children, it could be possible that further bans will be put in place to protect children's health.