Stop Smoking Around Kids!
We all know we shouldn't do it. Smoking has been linked to many illnesses, from heart disease, to breathing problems, and ever cancer. It's pretty scary stuff, and it isn't something you want to mess with. Although it seems there is no real point to the habit, once it's started, it can be horrifically addictive and incredibly tough to stop. You can berate smokers all you like, but unfortunately, it's not going to change anything if it's their choice. That's not a get out clause, it's just fact.
However, when the choice of one person - for example, a parent - becomes more important than the choice of another - say, their child - just where do you draw the line? There are several campaigners out there shouting until they're blue in the face about smoking around children - the smoking ban of 2007 was brought into place arguably to protect the lungs and health of the vulnerable, a lot of whom are indeed children. But people don't just want smokers to stop in public. They want them to stop in their own homes, and cars.
And invasion of privacy? Perhaps. But it's a necessary one. Just as you wouldn't force-feed your child alcohol, you shouldn't impose smoke into their bodies against their will, either - it's equally damaging.
According to the British Lung Foundation, tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including more than 70 cancer-causing chemicals and hundreds of other poisons. It's mostly these chemicals which cause cancer, lung disease, and other illnesses. You can get anything from stomach ulcers, mouth and dental infections, to eye disorders and osteoporosis. You could also wind up infertile if you try to have more children, or facing complications in pregnancy. It honestly doesn't sound worth it. At all.
Passive smoking is a very real concern. Imagine all of these problems passed on to somebody innocent? Maybe your child, or someone who's already ill. It increases their risks of all of the nasty illnesses and diseases smokers can contract, but without leaving them an option. As children's lungs aren't fully formed yet, exposure to second-hand smoke leaves them more likely to develop lung problems like asthma, as well as infections of their ears, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Perhaps worst of all is smoking around babies - up to 40 cot deaths per year are attributed to frequent smoke inhalation.
The BLF's 'Smoking In Cars' campaign seeks to address passive smoking dangers in tight, confined spaces. Smoking in cars is up to 11 times more dangerous than smoking in a smoky pub in days gone by, for example. MPs have just voted in a ban - this is supported by 80% of adults, and an incredible majority of 86% of children. Plenty of other countries already have blanket bans in place. Not surprising when you consider that pollution levels in a smoky car can be up to 35 times higher than the World Health Organization says is safe. Even so, 430,000 children are exposed to this every week, many of whom are too afraid to speak up, especially when it's not their own mum or dad. It's important that you, as an adult, make it clear to anyone - family or friends - that you are not happy with your child being a passenger whilst they're smoking.
Of course, there are those who oppose a blanket ban. They have a right to smoke, they say, so they'll continue to do it. Again… that's fine. Grown adults should be able to do what they like. But children don't get a say in the matter, and their health is equally at risk. And how many people can actually say that they truly enjoy smoking and don't regret taking it up to begin with?
There are rumours, too, when it comes to smoking. That it suppresses your appetite. Maybe even that it looks 'alluring' or 'cool'. But the days of thinking like that are long gone. The reality is yellow teeth, stained walls in your house and a lingering scent that clings to every last one of your clothes.
So how can people change life-long habits? There are a few different ways, if you're ready to make a change…
The NHS Smokefree Site has loads of ways to help you stop smoking. The addictive part of smoking is in fact the nicotine, and so there are many products which supplement this so that quitting isn't quite so harrowing. There's plenty of support available - you can get a free Quit Kit, and you can read stories from success stories about how it's the best thing you'll ever do.
Smoking Cessation Products
There are plenty of things on the market, from special nicotine gum, nicotine patches and inhalators. You can find out more details from the designated Quit website.
E-cigarattes and Portable Vaporizers
E-cigs may be new and revolutionary, but they're already helping provide safer alternatives to newly ex-smokers.(Check out www.Davincivaporizer.com for portable vapes). Although there have been some debates recently about their long term risks, so far, they have been well received. There are none of the harmful carcinogenic chemicals in there, and at least for the time being, you can even opt for them to contain nicotine - to help with the cravings. They come in a range of flavours, to make the whole thing a bit easier. You can try them from places like fruiteCigs.
E-Shisha is a perfect new way to help those who may be only what they call 'social smokers'. Mirroring the trendy practice of Shisha smoking in designated cafes and bars, the experience can now be enjoyed using vapour instead of smoke, courtesy of sites such as Exclusive Shisha.
At the end of the day, it can seem like this sort of 'big brother' style advice is simply too much. But think of your children. Nobody wants to grow up without a mother or father - could your child cope with losing you to a smoking related disease? And imagine the unthinkable - if your child became ill themselves, as a result of your habit. The more you smoke, the more normal it seems to young minds. Meaning the vicious cycle is unlikely to break with them, and they'll start, too. Sometimes, as parents, we have to be selfless. At the very least, don't smoke in their presence - you're a good parent overall, so don't let this issue make you anything otherwise. You'll be proud to see what you can achieve!