More parents now take bad habit outside

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MORE children in south east Northumberland no longer have to contend with the health risks posed by their parents smoking at home, latest figures reveal.

Research by Bath University shows that, year on year, almost a tenth more smokers are now avoiding lighting up at home.

Fresh, the north east anti-smoking campaign group, believes that some of the credit for that drop is due to its Take 7 Steps Out campaign encouraging adults not to light up around children.

Group director Ailsa Rutter said: “Most parents who still smoke want to protect their children and are horrified at the thought of them starting.

“All those mums and dads who have gone outside or don’t smoke in the car deserve a big ‘well done’.

“It will protect many children from potentially fatal diseases in years to come and improve their quality of life.”

Dr Mark Weatherhead, a consultant respiratory physician based at Ashington’s Wansbeck General Hospital, said: “Most parents are horrified when they realise that their smoking may be making their child unwell and want to do something about it.

“When you light a cigarette, you are setting fire to, and inhaling, a cocktail of chemicals and industrial pollutants.

“Too many children are still subjected to this in confined spaces such as the home and the car.”

Former smoker Janet Stoddart, 53, of Ashington, is among those now shunning cigarettes for the good of herself and her loved ones.

She said: “As a result of smoking, I have been left with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, but thankfully now that I’ve quit, when my grandchildren come to visit me, they can enjoy a smoke-free environment.

“We now enjoy our time together a lot more.”

For more information, visit www.fresh.take7stepsout.co.uk