Results and analysis of the 2013 public consultation, Protecting Children from Second-hand Smoke, are published today.
The strong message, based on almost 3,000 responses, is that Islanders – whether they smoke or not – want more to be done to protect children in Jersey from second-hand smoke.
Most support was expressed for making children’s playgrounds smokefree, as well as protecting children from second-hand smoke in cars.
Key findings include:
• Almost nine out of ten people overall (87%), including three-quarters of all smokers who responded, said it is important for the States of Jersey to stop children coming into contact with second-hand smoke
• Eight out of 10 say smoking should be stopped in playgrounds
• And almost eight out of 10 (76%) said they would support a law in Jersey to stop smoking in cars carrying children
Martin Knight, Senior Public Health Manager, said “Scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to second-hand smoke. Knowledge and understanding in this area have increased considerably in recent years, however many children, including babies, are frequently exposed to second-hand smoke in their homes and in cars.
“Such exposure places them at increased risk of a range of health harms including asthma, glue ear and sudden infant (cot) death. Evidence also shows that children who grow up in smoking environments are more likely to become smokers themselves.”
Dr Susan Turnbull, Medical Officer of Health said
“I was very pleased with the large response across all Jersey’s population groups to our consultation last summer, and the strength of public opinion saying that more needs to be done to protect our children from the harmful effects of smoke on their health now, as well as helping to reduce the number who will become smokers themselves in the future.
“Armed with knowledge of health harms, adults can – and do – make informed choices about reducing their odds of dying young from smoking-related conditions, whether by stopping smoking themselves, avoiding being exposed to other people’s smoke, or usually both.
“Babies and young children do not have this knowledge. Older children may know about the harms of smoking and exposure to smoke, however neither group have the power to make choices about avoiding being exposed to smoke by adults, often their own parents or others who regularly care for them.”
A total of 2,966 people responded to the public consultation; the findings will influence the next steps in delivering the current States of Jersey Tobacco Strategy, as well as shaping the next phase of the strategy, starting in 2015. Options for short- and medium-term actions are in development, and further details will be released during the coming weeks.