Tobacco smoke can damage the health of children. But, despite this, nine out of ten smokers still consume cigarettes in front of children, claims a Spanish cancer association, AECC, on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day this Monday (31 May).
To mark the day, the AECC is calling for the reinforcement of current legislation to ban smoking in all public areas, where minors could be present.
The association stresses that tobacco not only causes cancer in those who smoke, but also in those who breathe the tobacco smoke of others.
The AECC said studies show that in almost all public spaces frequented by children there are traces of tobacco smoke in the air: some 95.1 per cent of terraces, 78.2 per cent of the doorways to bars and restaurants, in 46 per cent of school gates and 41 per cent of playgrounds.
Within this is in mind, cancer group is calling for an extension to the current anti-smoking regulations to make those public spaces where the presence of minors is frequent smoke-free.
The AECC said it would like to see a reduction in the number of smokers in Spain in order to achieve a tobacco-free generation by 2030.
Children are especially vulnerable to inhalation of smoke in the atmosphere, it said, and, after regular exposure, they suffer 50 per cent more cases of otitis, 20 per cent more asthma attacks or 30 per cent more respiratory infections. In addition, children exposed to tobacco smoke during childhood have a higher risk of developing cancer and heart disease in adulthood than those not exposed.
The AECC proposes the extension of the smoking ban to all public places in the open air where there may be children: terraces, sports facilities, beaches, etc. In addition, the group says it would welcome measures such as a tax increase and an increase in the price of the final product; a reduction of the attractiveness of the packaging and a restriction on tobacco advertising on digital platforms aimed at young people.
The association also advocates increasing awareness and applying the same restrictions on new forms of tobacco, nicotine and derivatives - such as electronic cigarettes or vapes - as the perception of risk among the young population is still low.
On World No Tobacco Day the group has taken the opportunity to remind the public about the Respirapp, the AECC's new tool to help smokers quit the habit.