Smoking parents hit by possible ban and warnings for pregnant smokers

Petition against smoking in cars containing children while pregnant smokers urged to quit after links to baby heart defects

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Smoking has hit the headlines for two different reasons this week. A petition by health professionals was passed to Downing Street on Wednesday, calling for a ban on smoking in cars when there are children present. This followed a report by the British Lung Foundation (BLF) into children’s exposure to smoke in confined spaces.

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“There is good evidence to show children exposed to smoking in a confined space like a car, even for a short time, are at increased risk of developing illnesses such as asthma and cancer in later life,” said BLF nurse Alison Sutherland.

Also this week, new research has added to the growing list of foetal problems associated with smoking in pregnancy. A study by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that smoking in the first trimester was linked to a 20-70% increase in the chances that the baby would be born with congenital heart defects.

“Women who smoke and are thinking about becoming pregnant need to quit smoking and, if they’re already pregnant, they need to stop,” advised CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden.

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