Blackpool Council have joined forces with an ex-smoker to highlight the dangers of secondhand smoke ahead of the ban on smoking in cars with under 18s present, which becomes law in England and Wales on October 1.
Secondhand smoke from cigarettes contains over 4,500 toxic chemicals and 80 per cent of it is invisible. The toxic mix is responsible for a range of serious health problems including bronchitis, asthma and glue ear, and is especially dangerous to children.
I can choose to smoke or not, but my kids can’t.
The change in law means that private vehicles must be smokefree if they are enclosed, there is more than one person present and one of them is under 18. Drivers breaking the law face a £50 fine.
Smokers are encouraged to use the ban as an opportunity to kick the habit for good as Stoptober – the 28-day mass-quitting challenge – also starts on October 1. Last year thousands of smokers across Lancashire quit as part of the campaign.
Samantha Wood, 30, from Blackpool supports smokefree cars for children and recently quit through Blackpool Stop Smoking Service. She said: “I pledged to have a smokefree home and car back in November 2014 to protect the health of my children. When people come round to visit my home that wanted to smoke, I simply made them go outside and I don’t allow people to smoke in my car. My house and car are so much fresher now.
“I gave into peer pressure and started smoking at the age of 14 years old. My partner had given up smoking and encouraged me to do the same. It’s been eight months now.
“Having two young children under seven meant that I had to have enough energy to run around with them, so I needed to get healthier.
“The thing is I can choose whether to smoke or not, my kids can’t. By smoking in front of children we’re simply taking away their choice.
“I used to smoke around 25 cigarettes a day. My advice to anyone wanting to give up is to get in touch with Blackpool stop smoking service they will help you to stick to it.”
Coun Eddie Collett, Blackpool Council cabinet member for reducing health inequalities, said: “We have campaigned for smokefree cars for a long time, and we hope the change in the law along with the extra information and support available will lead to healthier choices.”
For help and advice about quitting call Blackpool Stop Smoking Service on 951570.