WIGAN parents are being urged to protect their children from cigarette smoke when in the car with a new online campaign.
North West-based pressure group Tobacco Free Futures and the British Lung Foundation (BLF) have joined forces to call for legislation to protect youngsters from the dangers of tobacco smoke in confined spaces such as inside cars.
A new video highlights the difficulties young people are facing in speaking up when a parent or other adult is smoking during a car journey and allows viewers to take part in an online vote.
Recent research suggests second-hand smoke results in at least 34,000 GP visits and more than 1,100 emergency admissions to hospital in the North West each year.
Wendy Meston, public health lead for Greater Manchester, said: “Second-hand smoke has been shown to cause a range of health problems in children including chest infections, increased risk of asthma, cot death, glue ear and middle ear infections.
“I urge all adults to protect children by not smoking in cars and homes. The only way to protect children is to not smoke in enclosed places such as cars.
“Children when asked usually say they would like their spaces to be smoke free so let’s listen to what our children want and need.
“We want to highlight this issue with parents in our communities and give local people a chance to have their say on whether we should act on behalf of children and ban smoking in cars.”
Tobacco Free Futures is also urging Wiganers to use the website to contact their local MP asking them to take action, while the campaign has also attracted celebrity backing from Hollyoaks actress Jazmine Franks and Neil Fitzmaurice from comedies Peep Show and Phoenix Nights.
The campaign group also suggests cars can contain up to 11 times the levels of smoke found in a room.
The issue is due to be debated in the House of Lords as part of the Children and Families Bill in the new year.
To watch the video and find out more, visit http://tobaccofreefutures.org and follow the links.