• Wed
  • Aug 20, 2014
  • Updated: 3:51pm
NewsHong Kong
HEALTH

Ban smoking in Hong Kong homes and cars to protect children, expert urges

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 3:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 March, 2014, 9:30am

An anti-smoking activist and community-health specialist has urged the government to ban smoking in cars and even homes to protect children's health.

Professor Lam Tai-hing was speaking after a new study, published yesterday, showed that second-hand smoke can make children prone to heart attacks and strokes later in life, in addition to other known risks such as lung cancer, middle-ear disease and respiratory disease.

Lam, professor of community medicine at the University of Hong Kong, said that while smoking in cars when children were present had been banned in some countries, so far no authorities had made a similar ruling for private households.

"Smoking in front of children should be seen as poisoning and abusing them," he said. "There are laws that protect children against being abused, why is it we don't consider second-hand smoking as a kind of abuse?"

Lam said Hong Kong so far had no legislation specifically to protect children from second-hand smoke.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal yesterday, said data from 2,401 people in Finland and 1,375 in Australia showed passive smoking led to a thickening of children's artery walls, ageing blood vessels by 3.3 years by adulthood.

Scientists used ultrasound to measure the thickness of the children's artery walls once they had reached adulthood.

The results showed that in adulthood, the carotid IMT - a measure of the innermost two layers of the arterial wall - was 0.015 millimetres thicker when both parents smoked than when neither did.

Researcher Seana Gall, who led the study at the University of Tasmania, said this was an irreversible risk of heart attacks or strokes later in life.

The researchers said the findings showed that reducing children's exposure to smoke was a public health priority.

"Legislation can reduce passive smoke exposure," they wrote, adding that banning smoking in cars with children in them would have a significant positive effect.

Smoking in cars carrying children is already banned in the United States, Australia and Canada. Britain is set to follow soon.

According to the World Health Organisation, 6 million people a year die due to smoking, while 600,000 die from exposure to other people's smoke.

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michael.j.mcfadden1
Worth noting: The IMT change measured here was .015mm. According to the data at ****tinyurl.com/HomeSmoking, a change 7x as great, .1 mm, correlates with a 10% increased risk in adults.
So, IF these figures are accurate, and *IF* the “adjustment models” used to arrive at them are also accurate, and IF those increases persist through the post-40/50 heart attack years, and IF the figures are actually a result of causality rather than simple correlation with a third variable…
**IF** all the above assumptions are true THEN the most damning statement that can be made is that kids exposed to 15 to 20 years of daily smoke will have slightly over a 1% greater chance of having an adult heart attack at some point sooner than otherwise.
That’s probably about the same risk as one extra fast-food burger a month, but it’s headlined as “irreversible damage” that will kill your children. Scaremonging a bit?
Meanwhile the article also notes a concern about lung cancer from children being exposed to smoke. The authors seem to be unaware that the largest international case-control study on that subject, the WHO's Bofetta study, showed that children of smokers ended up getting 22% *LESS* lung cancer later in life than children of nonsmokers -- perhaps because of some sort of inoculation/vaccination effect, although the study authors liked to pass it off as "no association."
Michael J. McFadden,
Author of “TobakkoNacht — The Antismoking Endgame”
michael.j.mcfadden1
The 22% figure and study abstract can be seen at: nycclash.com/Philly.html#ETSTable by anyone who would like to check the documentation.
- MJM
sipsip1238
It's amazing how young so-called professionals still considers smoking as being hip or cool.
Having worked in finance for almost 7 years now, I can say that not many of my fellow traders or management goes smoking, instead it is normally the back office or analysts who smokes.
What is interesting is that smoking is definitely much more common in smaller firms, since that you walk past the back of offices like Convoy or Success and you see a bunch of young guys smoking, which is honestly terrible to walk past.
It may be the influence of mainland customers or firms, but I am glad to be working in a Western firm where colleagues rather go for an afternoon gym session than to smoke.
superdx
For anyone looking to buy a 2nd hand car (which is popular due to low cost) make sure you inspect the insides of the panels where the ash trays or bottle holders are. Most of the time smokers don't even bother with a tray and just tap their smokes and it ends up falling inside. The shop will clean the interior quite well so you won't see it until you start prying. Don't worry, they're meant to be taken apart / put back together quite easily.
You will never know its there, but you will be breathing it. I immediately sold the 2004 Honda Accord when I found out, drove it for over a year too :( There was at least an inch of ash inside, was horrified.
michael.j.mcfadden1
Superdx, I'm sorry to say this, but if you sold a car after year because you were "horrified" to see some ash in an ashtray, you are likely to be suffering from ASDS, AntiSmokers' Dysfunction Syndrome. It is a very debilitating psychological condition that can harm not only your own life but also, through its extended effects, the lives of your friends and family members. You can read more about it and learn about the steps toward recovery by visiting Stephanie Stahl's wonderful exposition on it at:
wispofsmoke.net/recovery.html
I wish you well in your future.
- MJM
ton1998
No use , you are not allowed to smoke in bars , but in Wanchai you can find many bars were people are smoking.
Nobody control that , why you make rules if you don't control it.
Yes , I hate smoking , dirty and very bad for our health.
likingming
benefits of smoking :
1) enhance inspiration
2) remove depression (very beneficial for city dwellers especially HKers)
3) reduce stress
4) reduce body weight (and fight against obesity and its associated diesease)
5) promote social harmony (by sharing cigarrettes)
If the invention of the use of fire is the signature of civilization, then the use of smoke (cigar, incest, spa, cigarretees, smoked food) is even more advance. While the US and other EU countries legalized some drugs, I don't feel the need to kill smoking.
I have to declare that I don't smoke but I don't think it is a bad habit. Do remember our chairman Deng and Mao both lived to very old age.
sipsip1238
Stress can also be reduced by going on a 10 or 15km run....in fact 30mins of exercise (6km) will do.
Running/exercise has also been proven to reduce depression as it releases endorphins which makes us happy.
What you've noted there can pretty much be achieved by going on a lunchtime exercise session with a colleague, instead of just pigging out at lunch.
lexishk
John Davidson. You must work for big tobacco or be some kind of amoral big business lobbyist. Do you seriously expect anyone here to buy your line that smoking is harmless? I suppose sucking fumes from exhaust pipes is good for us too. GTFO.
michael.j.mcfadden1
Lex, if you investigated a bit you'd have found that Davidson was simply quoting the European Commission's Committee on Toxicity findings.
And, just in case you want to try pointing the same sort of finger at me, you can read both my Author's profile and the first two sentences of my Author's Preface at Antibrains.com
Re exhaust pipes: while they may have cleaned up a bit in the last twenty years or so, at one point in the 1990s I compared their exhaust products to those of smoking. I found that roughly one month of driving produced the same amount of general air pollution as an entire lifetime of smoking. Additionally, a single moderately large airport's takeoffs/landings produce roughly EIGHT AND A HALF BILLION cigarettes' worth of NOx pollution every single day it is in operation. If you're truly concerned about "clean air" you might want to push for tax parity between airline tickets and cigarette taxes. A 300% base price tax increase on airline tickets would go a LONG way toward reducing air pollution, doncha think?
- MJM

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