RCPCH responds to ASH 'smokefree generation' report

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) has today launched a new report calling for action to address smoking closer to where people live. Dr Max Davie responds.

According to the Smoking in the home; new solutions for the smoke-free generation report, high levels of smoking in poorer communities reduces the likelihood that smokers living in those communities will successfully quit and increases the likelihood that children will be exposed to smoke in the home and that they will take up smoking themselves. As a result, smoking-related illness is much more common among both adults and children in these communities.

The report found that smoking was highly concentrated in some communities, particularly the rented sector, with smoking twice as common in social housing than in other tenures. Smokers in social housing were also less likely to successfully quit despite trying as often as other smokers.

Rather than calling for a ban on smoking in the home, ASH are calling for greater engagement of housing and health professionals in the communities that need the most support.It sets out how an innovative focus on smoking in the home could provide important new routes for smokers to quit and help protect children and non-smokers from exposure to second-hand smoke.

Responding to the report, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said:

The impact smoke can have on child health can be devastating. Exposure in the womb can lead to a baby being born prematurely and entering the world before they are physically ready. And exposure outside the womb can lead to cot death or life threatening conditions such as asthma and allergies. 

In Great Britain, 61% of smokers over the age of 16 said they wanted to quit but stopping smoking isn’t easy - it’s even harder when those around you continue to smoke - that’s why we fully support the recommendations set out in this report. Ensuring tenants have easy access to stop smoking clinics in local community spaces is particularly helpful however with public health budget cuts, this, along with other recommendations, will not be realistically achieved. That’s why we at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, want to see a reversal of these cuts urgently.