Protecting Children From Second-Hand Smoke
It's a staggering statistic: 700 million children - almost half of the world's youth - regularly breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke.
People who smoke in confined spaces like the home or the car subject others to a dangerous mix of toxins and carcinogens including nicotine, carbon monoxide, and cyanide, even when the windows are open. Smoking exposes children to chronic health risks:
* Increases a baby's risk of dying suddenly from unexplained causes
* Contributes to low birth weight in newborns and harms lung development
* Causes bronchitis and pneumonia in young adults
* Increases risk of ear infections, asthma, coughing and wheezing among school-aged children
* These health threats to children underscore the need for parents around the world to protect the young from second-hand smoke.
Promoting a smoke-free environment for children
In the first global initiative of its kind, the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and cancer-fighting organizations in every region will lead a year-long effort to promote smoke-free environments for children. "I love my smoke-free childhood" will launch on World Cancer Day, 4 February, with these messages for parents:
* Avoid smoking at home or in a car
* Caution children to stay away from second-hand smoke and keep children away from places that allow smoking
* Teach children there is no safe level of second-hand smoke
* Do not smoke while pregnant or in the vicinity of someone who is pregnant
* Use a smoke-free childcare centre
* If you are a smoker, ask your doctor what you can do to stop
* Become a role model for your child - do not smoke
* Protecting our children from second-hand smoke
To back these messages, UICC is publishing a 40-page expert report, "Protecting our children from second-hand smoke".