Smoking and Pregnancy

ASH Ireland has noted the contents of a report, “Maternal Health Behaviours and Child Growth in Infancy”, published today by the Growing Up in Ireland Study team, which among other things, deals with smoking rates among women who are pregnant. 

The fact that 13% of Irish women continue to smoke while pregnant is of concern, however, we must also recognise that this is a significant decrease on the 28% of pregnant women found to be smoking back in 1999. We have also noted that the smoking rates apply primarily to people in the lower socio economic groups. It is crucially important that support and investment is provided so that these women who continue to smoke during pregnancy can find ways of quitting.  This is a challenge for our health services. 

There is long established evidence to show that babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are of lower body weight and this of course does raise health issues for the baby at birth and into the future. 

ASH Ireland would of course encourage all persons who smoke to attempt to quit, especially pregnant women, but we also realise that many people will require significant support and assistance to do so.

 

ENDS 

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520

ASH Ireland welcomes ban on smoking in cars transporting children

ASH Ireland welcomes the passing of legislation, which protects children from other people’s second hand smoke, while being transported in motor vehicles.  This is important health legislation, which hopefully will have widespread support. This legislation concluded its various stages through the Oireachtas on Thursday, 18th December.

Dr Ross Morgan, Chairman of ASH Ireland said, ‘There is definitive evidence to show that non-smokers travelling in a car, while another person is smoking, will be harmed by the toxic chemicals which are released in such a restricted environment.  It is also well established that children are particularly vulnerable to such toxins as their vital organs are not fully developed’. 

The American Cancer Society advises that ‘if someone smokes there (in a car), the poisons can build up quickly. Again, this can be especially harmful to children’.

The US Environmental Protection Agency warns, ‘The developing lungs of young children are severely affected by exposure to secondhand smoke for several reasons including that children are still developing physically, have higher breathing rates than adults, and have little control over their indoor environments’.

Researchers in UC San Francisco have found that this secondhand smoke in cars poses a major health risk and that the toxins found are “thought to be the most important among the thousands in tobacco smoke that cause smoking-related disease”.

Dr Ross Morgan also said “ASH Ireland first raised the possibility of introducing a ban on smoking in cars with the then Minister for Health, Mary Harney.  During his first few weeks in office, we again raised the possibility of introducing this legislation with Minister James Reilly and he gave a very positive indication in regard to our proposal.  The initiative was then taken up by Senator John Crown and this intervention was hugely important in driving the ASH Ireland proposal to its legislative conclusion”.

Note. The American Association of Cancer Research, in research published last month (November 2014) found that ‘Nonsmokers sitting in an automobile with a smoker for one hour had markers of significantly increased levels of carcinogens and other toxins in their urine, indicating that secondhand smoke in motor vehicles poses a potentially major health risk’.  The report went on to state, ‘The nonsmoking passengers showed elevated levels of butadiene, acrylonitrile, benzene, methylating agents and ethylene oxide’.

ENDS 

For contact: ASH Ireland:  0818-305055

Wally Young, Young Communications:  087-2471520