Doctors Call For Ban On '10 Packs' Of Fags

They also want shops that sell Cigarettes to be requiRed to have licences and keep them under the counter, and tobacco vending machines outlawed. ...

Doctors are calling for '10 pack' Cigarettes to be banned to protect children from the dangers of smoking.

They also want shops that sell Cigarettes to be requiRed to have licences and keep them under the counter, and tobacco vending machines outlawed.

Children exposed to tobacco smoke suffer serious health consequences that include respiratory illness, cancer and heart disease, warn medics.

In England, 10 per cent of children who smoke regularly report that they were given Cigarettes by their parents, says the British Medical Association's report "Breaking the cycle of children's exposure to tobacco smoke".

Children of parents who smoke are between two and three times More likely to smoke than those who come from non smoking homes.

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of the BMA's science and ethics section, said: "Cigarettes must be made More inaccessible to children.

"By banning 10 pack Cigarettes and tobacco vending machines and making tobacco products More expensive, fewer children will be able to buy them.

"It is essential we break the tobacco trap. Young smokers will become tomorrow’s parents who smoke and they will continue the cycle of smoking related ill health and premature death. One of the best ways to prevent children starting to smoke is to help their parents quit.

"Adequately resourced and targeted smoking cessation services are key to this. We also need to break the cycle of deprivation caused by smoking. In low income families, parents’ addiction to tobacco can divert scarce funds away from meeting basic needs."

All of the UK will be smoke free from July 1st 2007, when England joins the other nations and prohibits smoking in all enclosed public places.

Although evidence from other countries that have gOne smokefree indicates that smoking in the home goes down after these laws come into force, the fact that in the UK around five million children are exposed to second hand smoke in their homes is of major concern.

Dr Nathanson added: "The only home that does not endanger children from tobacco is a smoke free home. Measures such as opening windows or doors, smoking less, and not smoking in front of children simply do not work."

Smoking in cars presents a real danger to exposing children to concentrated levels of tobacco smoke. More than half of all journeys made by children are in cars, and this creates a significant source of exposure to second-hand smoke.

The hard-hitting report also calls for the UK health departments to ensure smoking cessation services are adequately funded and resourced.

In addition to mOney already provided, two per cent of the revenues raised from tobacco tax should be ring-fenced for use in providing cessation services especially in areas of deprivation.

Smoking cessation services should be targeted at high risk groups to include those in the lower socio economic groups, pregnant mothers, those with mental health problems and children who are looked after by the state, in foster care or in institutional settings.

Taxation on all tobacco products should be standardised and increased at higher than inflation rates to Reduce the affordability and therefore availability of Cigarettes.

Other recommendation include Cigarettes not be displayed at the point of sale and tobacco vending machines to be banned.

Legislation to ban the sale of packs of 10 Cigarettes should be introduced, along with legislation raising the minimum age of sale of tobacco products to 18.

A positive licensing scheme, already in place for shops that wish to sell alcohol, should be introduced. This would bring tobacco sales into line with alcohol sales.

The UK Government should also continue with countrywide media campaigns to inform the public about the health effects of exposure to second hand smoke at home and in cars.

Healthcare professionals should inform parents who smoke of the health risks that it poses to their children. This is particularly important for children who already have an illness that is caused or exacerbated by parental smoking.

Parents who smoke should be encouraged and helped to quit smoking, and to adopt smoke free homes if they continue to smoke


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