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Royal London specialist backs call for smoking ban in cars

PUBLISHED: 13:00 01 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:48 05 October 2010

Professor Neil Barnes says passive smoking is dangerous for kids

Professor Neil Barnes says passive smoking is dangerous for kids

A TOP East End specialist gave his backing this week to a call from doctors to ban all smoking in cars to reduce the dangers of cigarettes to kids. Consultant respiratory physician at the Royal London Hospital, Professor Neil Barnes, spoke of the danger

A TOP East End specialist gave his backing this week to a call from doctors to ban all smoking in cars to reduce the dangers of cigarettes to kids.

Consultant respiratory physician at the Royal London Hospital, Professor Neil Barnes, spoke of the dangers of passive smoking following demands from the Royal College of Physicians to outlaw cigarettes inside cars as well as on beaches and parks.

Doctors insist that youngsters are getting ill from passive smoking and Professor Barnes told the Advertiser that children who are exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to develop colds and coughs as well as asthma.

And the Royal College of Physicians found it causes at least 22,000 new cases of asthma and wheezing in children every year.

Prof Barnes said: "Parents say they don't smoke around their children but it is not true.

"What the Royal College of Physicians has said is right; children who are exposed to passive smoking are more likely to get colds and coughs and to develop asthma and meningitis.

"If you are in a car where someone is smoking then the exposure is very high.

"The risks are very clear-cut".

Prof Barnes who has worked at Barts and the London Trust for more than 20 years also insists that children are more likely to take-up smoking if their parents often light-up, with youngsters as young as 14-years-old developing the habit.

He added: "Before the smoking ban everybody thought that not smoking in bars would be terrible but people accept it now and I think it would be the same for cars.

"If you are an adult you have the choice of not going into smoky places but children do not have that choice."

The report Passive Smoking and Children was released four months before the Government's review of existing smoking legislation, which came into force in 2007. The proposals, which were welcomed by the Department of Health, include a call for smoking to be banned in all vehicles, rather than just those which contain children.

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