TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ - The Ontario Lung Association is driving home the
message that smoking in vehicles with children under the age of 16 as
passengers is dead wrong and is giving a voice to the backseat. The
not-for-profit leader in lung health is hoping to generate support for its
smoke-free position during National Non-Smoking Week held January 20 - 26,
2008 through an eAdvocacy campaign and a new ad series.
"We carefully strap our children into vehicles using proper
safety-approved car seats and make sure seat belts are fastened tightly in an
effort to protect our children from harm," says George Habib, president & CEO
of The Ontario Lung Association. "Then a good number of Ontario parents and
caregivers expose their young passengers to the more than 4000 dangerous
toxins, chemicals and known carcinogens by lighting up in the car. This should
be considered the new road rage and sound an alarm for immediate change."
Exposure to second-hand smoke - especially for children who breathe in
more air relative to their body weight - is especially potent in restricted
spaces such as vehicles. The health threats to children exposed to second-hand
smoke are well documented. Those who are regularly exposed have:
- Higher incidence of asthma;
- Increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS);
- More coughing and wheezing;
- More ear infections;
- Reduced lung capacity;
- Double the risk of bronchitis, croup and pneumonia;
- Lower test scores in math, reading and logic;
- Higher risk for heart disease;
- And, importantly, more chance of taking up smoking themselves
"Asthma in children is growing at an unsettling rate," says Habib, "We
know that tobacco smoke is not only a known trigger for causing asthma
episodes, it can actually cause asthma in healthy children. If the factory
next door exposed our kids to known toxins and caused a potentially
life-threatening chronic disease, people would be outraged."
Children who are regularly exposed to tobacco use are twice as likely to
take up the habit themselves, thereby perpetuating an already serious health
issue in Ontario and the rest of Canada. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
(COPD), a disease caused primarily through tobacco use, is expected to be the
third leading cause of death in Canada by 2020. Lung cancer and heart disease
are other leading health concerns arising out of tobacco use and exposure to
second-hand smoke - a dire future for Ontario's Class of 2020.
The Ontario Lung Association invites Ontarians to support Bill 11
introduced last December by MPP David Orazietti that would see the ban on
smoking in vehicles where children under the age of 16 are present. The Bill
has had its first reading and is in queue for second reading. A recent survey
commissioned by the Ontario Tobacco-free Network and conducted by Ipsos Reid
indicates 86 per cent of non-smokers and 66 per cent of smokers surveyed
support such a ban.
To show support for Bill 11 Ontarians should visit www.on.lung.ca and
send a message to their MPP, effective Weedless Wednesday, January 23.
According to Habib, this campaign is a platform for people to get involved in
shaping a healthier future for the province while protecting Ontario's most
vulnerable population. As well The Ontario Lung Association's new ad campaign
launches this week in an effort to get people identifying with its tagline,
"When you can't breathe, nothing else matters."
"Child protection in vehicles does not stop at seat belts and car seats,"
says George Habib, president of the Ontario Lung Association. "There's no
question that children must be protected from second-hand smoke. Bill 11,
which calls for a province-wide ban on smoking in vehicles where children are
present, must be adopted."
Helpful Information for Smokers
- The Lung Association's BreathWorks(TM) program assists people with
COPD: 1-866-717-2673 (COPD)
- Asthma Action(TM) Helpline: 1-800-668-7682
- Get on Track - Smoking Cessation program: 1-888-566-5864 (LUNG)
About The Lung Association:
The Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest voluntary, not-for-profit
health-promotion organizations. The Lung Association is concerned with the
prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease caused by smoking and
with air quality and its effect on lung health. The Ontario Lung Association
was incorporated in 1945, and has community offices across the province. Visit
The Lung Association online at www.on.lung.ca, or call 1-800-972-2636 for more
When you can't breathe, nothing else matters.
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