Quitting smoking is difficult. Despite the wealth of aids available for those who want to give up tobacco, from e-cigarettes to nicotine patches, it’s never easy, even when you’ve got a family’s wellbeing to think of. So if you’re about to welcome a newborn or you’ve already got children of any age, give them a thought if you’re still smoking. Try to create as healthy an environment for them as possible by following a few simple rules.
Make your home and car a smoke-free space
If you didn’t know, smoking is the single greatest cause of preventable illness and premature death. In 2011, nearly 80,000 smoking-related deaths occurred in England. And if that wasn’t bad enough, around 9,500 children are admitted to UK hospitals every year with illnesses directly caused by second-hand smoke. Babies, whose lungs are still growing, are particularly vulnerable as are foetuses: second-hand smoke can get into the bloodstream, affecting growth and decreasing blood flow to organs.
Think about this the next time you light up in the house or in the car. To stay indoors, you can always use a smoking alternative, like an e-cigarette. They use E-Liquid refills which produce a smoke-like vapour that contains nicotine but is thought to be far less harmful and invasive than tobacco smoke.
Smoking around children can not only cause health problems but also emotional distress: many children worry that their parents will die from smoking, mainly because of graphic TV adverts that weren’t so common during previous generations. If you’re going to smoke in the car, make sure all the windows are open and never leave a child in a smoke-filled car without ventilation.
Install decent ventilation in your home
If you don’t want to go outside to smoke (perhaps you have no balcony or garden and you live in high-rise flats), make sure that your house is adequately ventilated. It’s no good making your children stay in another room while you smoke; it will linger around and permeate the air in other rooms. Many low-end air purifiers are now designed to filter tobacco smoke as well traffic gases and common airborne allergens. Combined with open windows this can make a significant dent in the amount of smoke in your house. But remember, there is no amount of safe second-hand smoke according to the medical community.
Remove the odour of smoke
The smell of smoke is likely to be something of a deterrent if you’re a child. But the smell of smoke and mimicking the habits of your parents can lead children to smoke later in life. Try to smoke out of sight of your children and remove odours as much as possible. Use a product like Febreeze on jackets or items of furniture (although smoking outdoors will remove the need to spend time de-odorising furniture). Pots of baking soda placed in rooms can do a great job of cheaply absorbing smells. Leaving items outdoors can do them the world of good, and failing that you can get larger items professionally cleaned.