Doctors Call for Ban on Second-hand Smoke

LONDON, March 24 (UPI) — Britain’s Royal College of Physicians says smoking should be outlawed in all vehicles and in parks and other public places frequented by children.

Such a ban is necessary to reduce children’s exposure to second-hand smoke, said a report from the college released Wednesday.

Second-hand smoke is a “major cause of death and disease in children (that can) be avoided entirely,” 20 leading doctors wrote The Times of London in support of a ban.

An estimated two million children are exposed to cigarette smoke at home, with children twice as likely to become smokers if a close family member smokes, the doctors said.

Illness from second-hand smoke costs British taxpayers about $34.5 million per year in treatment for respiratory infections, middle-ear disease and bacterial meningitis, said John Britton, the report’s lead author.

“This report isn’t just about protecting children from passive smoking, it’s about taking smoking completely out of children’s lives,” Britton said. “Adults need to think about who’s seeing them smoke.”

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