13 October 2021

Parents in Newham who have a child with asthma are being offered support to give up smoking by the Specialist Children's and Young People's Service. 

A letter sent to all families explains to them how exposure to smoke puts their child at greater risk of becoming unwell. Even if parents who smoke avoid smoking near their child, the smoke remains on clothes, skin, hair and furniture and their child will breathe in the smoke and toxic particles. This is known as third hand smoke and can agitate and trigger wheezing and breathing issues in children with asthma.

The approach, inspired by work in Tower Hamlets, is the brain child of Asthma Nurse Specialist Emily Guilmant-Farry and Tracey Sokoya, Commissioning Manager (Maternity & Children Services) NHS North East London Clinical Commissioning Group. 

Emily said, "It does not matter how long you have been smoking for or how many cigarettes you smoke a day, stopping will immediately improve your health and help you save money - and will really benefit children in the family, as their asthma medicines work better, and will reduce the likelihood of hospital attendances and poor asthma control. Tobacco is highly addictive but people are more likely to stop smoking with support from the NHS than going it alone. Smoking cessation support is free, friendly and can massively boost your chances of quitting for good. They are staffed by expert advisors who provide a range of proven methods to help."

Asthma is a condition in which the airways narrow, swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, a whistling sound (wheezing) when you breathe out and shortness of breath. It is very distressing to see a young person struggling to breathe, going into hospital for treatment and even more so when the triggers can be minimalised or avoided.

See this link for information about smoking cessation services near you