MONTREAL, Nov. 4, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - In Quebec, 70,000 children under
the age of 12 are still regularly exposed to second-hand smoke at home
or in the car. An unacceptable situation, because the dangers of this
toxic smoke to the health of children, little known a few decades ago,
are today clearly proven.
In order to raise the awareness of parents about the harmful effects of
second-hand smoke, the Smoke-Free Family campaign is back for a 7th year. It aims at changing the social norm regarding the exposure of
children to this smoke by reminding people of the importance of going
outside to smoke in order to protect them.
A campaign that remains relevant
Year after year, Quebec places last in the country with respect to the
protection of children against second-hand smoke. The most recent
studies indicate that twice as many young Quebecers are exposed to it
as other Canadians of the same age. These statistics are undoubtedly
related to the fact that people smoke or still allow tobacco use in 20%
of Quebec homes which include children.
A greater danger for children
Children and babies breathe more quickly than adults, and their immune
systems are not yet fully developed. This is why they are at greater
risk of suffering from health problems if they are regularly exposed to
"In my practice, I have been able to observe the harmful effects of this
smoke on the health of children. Asthma, respiratory disorders,
repeated ear infections… this is how regular exposure to this harmful
smoke can affect little ones," explains Dr. Catherine Hervouet-Zeiber,
pediatrician at the Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine and
Smoke-Free Family spokesperson.
Even in their mother's womb, babies are not protected. In particular,
second-hand smoke can affect the development of their heart and lungs
and increase the risks of miscarriage and complications at birth.
Moreover, over the course of the first months of their lives, babies
who are exposed to it run a greater risk of falling victim to sudden
infant death syndrome.
"It is well-known that smokers do several things in order to not bother
their loved ones with their cigarette smoke. Whether by smoking under
the kitchen hood or rolling down the car window, their gestures are
always filled with good intentions. However, there is no way to
ventilate sufficiently to eliminate from the air the toxic elements
found in second-hand smoke. The one and only way to protect the health
of children is to go outside to smoke and to insist that our visitors
do the same," concludes Dr. Hervouet-Zeiber.
Did you know?
Second-hand smoke is made up of the smoke that escapes directly into the
air from cigarettes and the smoke that is exhaled by smokers. It
contains 7,300 toxic products, including ammonia and arsenic.
When smokers light up a cigarette in a room, the people in it breathe in
the same dangerous substances as they do.
Children with 2 parents who each smoke half a pack of cigarettes a day
in the house will themselves also inhale the smoke of 7,000 cigarettes
in a year.
Making the decision to smoke outside contributes to reducing the risk of
seeing one's children begin smoking when they grow up.
About Smoke-Free Family
Smoke-Free Family is an initiative of Capsana, a social enterprise dedicated to the promotion of health and healthy
lifestyles, as well as the prevention and management of chronic
diseases. The campaign is presented in partnership with several public
and private organizations, including Quebec's ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux, the public health departments of the agences de santé et des services sociaux du Québec, McNeil Consumer Healthcare and Uniprix. To learn more about the
campaign and to obtain advice, visit the smokefreefamily.ca website or the facebook.com/smokefreefamily page.
For further information:
To arrange an interview with our spokesperson, Dr. Catherine Hervouet-Zeiber, please contact us.
514 985-2466, ext. 255
Information and interviews
Cell. : 514 222-1276