Arsenic, toilet cleaner and nail varnish remover aren’t the usual ingredients you would give your children during the summer holidays – but this could be the case if you don’t take seven steps out of the house before smoking.
The advice follows a series of sessions which took place in Wirral over the last year as part of the ‘Chemical Soup’ initiative which educated parents, volunteers and health workers about the dangers of second hand cigarette smoke.
Developed by children’s charity Barnardo’s, working in partnership with Manchester Stop Smoking Service, the chemical soup kit, complete with cooking pot and fake hazardous liquids, was presented to attendees in a fun and visual way and highlighted some of the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke.
Of more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke, 60 are known to cause cancer as well as avoidable childhood illnesses.
A new survey of more than 1,000 participants who completed the training revealed that almost three quarters (71 per cent) who indicated their homes were not smoke-free before the session pledged to make their homes smoke-free following it.
Debbie Stoneham, Outreach Worker at Bidston and St James Children’s Centre in Wirral, said: “I was really shocked to find out that there are more than 4,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke and that it contains substances like anti-freeze and rat poison. I will definitely do more to pass on the message to family and friends.”
Delivered jointly by Tobacco Free Futures and Barnardo’s, this community activity was the next stage of the successful ‘Take 7 Steps Out’ campaign – which encourages smokers to smoke outside of their home, especially when children are in the house.
Fiona Johnstone, Wirral’s Director of Public Health, said: “We know that the effects of second hand smoke on children are very harmful, which makes it so important for adults, particularly parents, to take responsibility and remember to follow the guidance and take seven steps away from the house before lighting a cigarette.”
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© Wirral Primary Care Trust 2013