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Protecting children from passive smoking

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 05 August 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:310

The risks are clear and a comprehensive strategy is now needed

  1. Roberta Ferrence (, director,
  2. Mary Jane Ashley, professor
  1. Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 2S1
  2. Department of Public Health Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 1A8

    Papers pp 333, 337, 343

    Environmental tobacco smoke is a serious health risk to children. Regulatory measures to protect children, such as eliminating smoking in day care settings, schools, and public places, do not address their main source of exposure to tobacco smoke—their homes. Formal structures for protecting children in the home are usually only used in certain circumstances involving custody and adoption,1 and legislation to ban smoking in homes is unlikely, so other strategies to reduce children's exposure to environmental tobacco smoke must be put in place.

    In this issue of the BMJ, three separate but thematically related papers provide support for a comprehensive approach to protect children from environmental tobacco smoke.24 Jarvis et al report that much of the reduction in exposure among English children aged 11–15 that occurred between 1988 and 1998 was due to reduced prevalence of parental smoking, as well as reduced smoking …

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