Promoting a tobacco free society

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Professor Luke Clancy

Professor Luke Clancy is a Consultant Respiratory Physician, Director General of the Research Institute for a Tobacco Free Society (RIFTFS) and Chairman of ASH Ireland. His major research contributions have been in Air Pollution, Tuberculosis, Asthma, Lung Cancer and Smoking Related Diseases. His current focus is on the prevention of smoking related diseases by research and advocacy. In this regard, he has been involved in a pre and post ban assessment of the exposure and health effects of the smoke-free workplace legislation, which was introduced into Ireland on the 29th March 2004. His intention is that RIFTFS will make a significant contribution to Tobacco Control by providing the evidence base to underpin the Irish Government’s Policy on the creation of a Tobacco Free Society.

Abstract: Smoking and Children’s Health
Exposure to second hand smoke for some begins in the womb. The consequences range from the possibility of stillbirth, to low birth weight, premature delivery, increased risk of serious health problems during the newborn period and may lead to life long disabilities. Clearly, smoking cessation aimed at pregnant women should be increased.  When exposure continues after birth, the results are also serious, including increased incidence of lower respiratory tract illness such as bronchitis, pneumonia, increased ear infections and a very significant increase in SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).  There is also an increased risk of developing Asthma, which is a very common and important disease in children. Exposure to second hand smoke in later childhood is associated with an increase in respiratory symptoms such as cough, phlegm and also upper respiratory symptoms. When children begin active smoking they often develop increased symptoms such as cough, phlegm and wheeze as well as increased risk of infection and decreased pulmonary function.  With active and passive smoking, children start their journey towards the known risks of smoking in adults, which include lung cancer, heart attacks, chronic bronchitis and strokes.  The risk arising from smoking in the home must be emphasised and the banning of smoking in confined spaces such as cars would also help reduce this unnecessary morbidity. 

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