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New research shows more than 4 in 10 smokers still smoke around kids

Tuesday 27 October, 2009

Data released today has revealed 44% of smokers still smoke in the presence of children.

The data, from a Cancer Council Victoria survey, shows that 56% of regular smokers do not smoke around children while 33% reported smoking less when around children.

Alarmingly, almost 1 in 10 smokers do not alter their smoking behaviour at all when they are around children.

The data also reveals that 11% of regular smokers either usually or always smoke inside the home, despite a child living there.

Executive Director of Quit, Ms Fiona Sharkie said the data released underlined the importance of continually reminding smokers of the danger of exposure to second-hand smoke, given how especially vulnerable children are to the health impacts of second-hand smoke.

"When you smoke around kids you are exposing them to thousands of chemicals that are, as this campaign illustrates, eating them alive."

"Cigarette smoke contains poisons like cyanide and carbon monoxide that trigger severe health problems in children, including ear infections, asthma, and deadly pneumonia. Cigarette smoke is linked to low birth weight and doubles the risk of SIDS."

The figures also reveal that 82% of smokers who live with a child under the age of 18 reported that they always or usually smoke outside.

"It is fantastic that so many smokers make the effort to ensure their homes are smokefree. By reducing the exposure of children to situations where smoking occurs, we can ‘denormalise' smoking and help prevent our kids from becoming future smokers," said Ms Sharkie.

The research also looked at the reasons given by current smokers, who do not smoke at all or who smoke less when around children, as to why they change their smoking behaviour when around children.

The majority of smokers said that they did not want to expose children to smoke (85%) with wanting to set a good example was the second highest reason (50%).

Nearly 10% of smokers admitted the reason their behaviour changed is they were not allowed to smoke around children.

Download Behavioural Research Paper 

Abbott J, McCarthy M. Smoking behaviour in homes and around children in Victoria: key findings from the 1998-2008 population surveys. CBRC Research Paper Series No. 40. Melbourne, Australia: Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Council Victoria, October 2009.

Abstract PDF icon Full report (295kb)

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