• Wed
  • Nov 19, 2014
  • Updated: 8:58pm
NewsHong Kong

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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This article is now closed to comments

What is with certain control freaks in Hong Kong who would even suggest that the government should regulate what happens inside private homes and cars?
And for the press to even print such nonsense, almost seems like they support such incursion of the government into private lives.
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.
Hong Kong is really starting to brainwash it's citizens...banning smoking in homes and cars? How communist.
Great. You are giving a totalitarian government an excuse to pry directly into our homes. I'm as anti-smoking as the next guy, but seriously, read 1984.
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.
Junk Science in Junk Science out! That's what all the tobacco studies have been since the beginning. They still cant even prove direct smoking causes anything in anyone!
Judge doesnt accept statistical studies as proof of LC causation!
It was McTear V Imperial Tobacco. Here is the URL for both my summary and the Judge’s ‘opinion’ (aka ‘decision’):
(2.14) Prof Sir Richard Doll, Mr Gareth Davies (CEO of ITL). Prof James Friend and
Prof Gerad Hastings gave oral evidence at a meeting of the Health Committee in
2000. This event was brought up during the present action as putative evidence that
ITL had admitted that smoking caused various diseases. Although this section is quite
long and detailed, I think that we can miss it out. Essentially, for various reasons, Doll
said that ITL admitted it, but Davies said that ITL had only agreed that smoking might
cause diseases, but ITL did not know. ITL did not contest the public health messages.
(2.62) ITL then had the chance to tell the Judge about what it did when the suspicion
arose of a connection between lung cancer and smoking. Researchers had attempted
to cause lung cancer in animals from tobacco smoke, without success. It was right,
therefore, for ITL to ‘withhold judgement’ as to whether or not tobacco smoke caused
lung cancer.
This pretty well destroys the Myth of second hand smoke:
Lungs from pack-a-day smokers safe for transplant, study finds.
By JoNel Aleccia, Staff Writer, NBC News.
Using lung transplants from heavy smokers may sound like a cruel joke, but a new study finds that organs taken from people who puffed a pack a day for more than 20 years are likely safe.
What’s more, the analysis of lung transplant data from the U.S. between 2005 and 2011 confirms what transplant experts say they already know: For some patients on a crowded organ waiting list, lungs from smokers are better than none.
Ive done the math here and this is how it works out with second ahnd smoke and people inhaling it!
The 16 cities study conducted by the U.S. DEPT OF ENERGY and later by Oakridge National laboratories discovered:
Cigarette smoke, bartenders annual exposure to smoke rises, at most, to the equivalent of 6 cigarettes/year.
A bartender would have to work in second hand smoke for 2433 years to get an equivalent dose.
Then the average non-smoker in a ventilated restaurant for an hour would have to go back and forth each day for 119,000 years to get an equivalent 20 years of smoking a pack a day! Pretty well impossible ehh!
Low levels of exposure, including exposures to secondhand tobacco smoke, lead to a rapid and sharp increase in endothelial dysfunction and inflammation, which are implicated in acute cardiovascular
events and thrombosis."
And when we move beyond fear mongering by half truths, we realize that a hearty thanksgiving dinner, results in identical effects almost universally.
A big mac, walking from the heat into the cold and a number of other physical activities that require that body to regulate blood flow and heart rate, will also fall into this same category. It is simply your body's natural defense mechanism working splendidly as it should.
And that is the health risk?
Junk Science is what its called! Normal reactions by the body to natural occurring events is what the smokefree insanity has been using to claim second hand smoke causes! Its all pure make believe!
Mental Stress Induces Transient Endothelial Dysfunction in Humans
Conclusions—These findings suggest that brief episodes of mental stress, similar to those encountered in everyday life, may cause transient (up to 4 hours) endothelial dysfunction in healthy young individuals. This might represent a mechanistic link between mental stress and atherogenesis.”
Put anyone who is sufficiently scared by any substance, gas, animal, insect or whatever, in a sealed box with the subject of their distress and you have the result you want.
Better idea, ban academics from opening their mouths in public.
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”



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