New research lifts lid on childrens’ anti-smoking attitudes

The Department of Health has conducted research which highlights the smoking worries of a new generation of children who have labelled smoking “stupid”, strongly opposing other research which suggests the opposite when it comes to young people’s views on smoking.

The Department of Health, who relaunched their ‘real kids’ ad campaign on the 1st November 2011, use real children to underline how much parents smoking worries them. It’s a really powerful campaign which brings to life the damage smoking can do not just to the individual but the unintended and often unrecognised impact smoking has on a smokers family.

Children are so concerned about the impact of smoking on their parent’s health that they’d go to considerable lengths to get them to give up, including: going without Christmas presents; giving up their pocket money; and even committing to complete their homework every night according to new research published today.

The research, which was conducted on behalf of Department of Health, reveals the anti smoking stance of a new smokefree generation of kids who are so opposed to cigarettes they’ve labelled smoking stupid, say they will never try a cigarette and that they wish that nobody in the world smoked.

Key findings include:
·         Over half (54%) of children with a parent who smokes say that their one wish for Christmas is that their Mum or Dad give up smoking.
·         Almost all (98%) children with a smoking parent wish that they would quit
·         Almost three quarters (73%) of children with a smoking parent worry about the risk of their parent dying. A further 58% worry about the risk of heart disease.
·         94% of children surveyed thought smoking was either stupid (52%) or dangerous (42%).
·         88% of children surveyed wished nobody in the world smoked. 90% say they have never tried a cigarette, and 91% say they never will. 93% wouldn’t want their own children smoking, when they grow up.
·         When it comes to what children would do to get their parents to quit, over a third (37%) would go without any Christmas presents; over half (59%) would give up pocket money; and 7 out of ten would commit to doing their homework every night (78%)  and going to bed when told (76%).
·          Almost a third of children surveyed (29%) admitted to hiding their parents’ cigarettes in a desperate attempt to help them quit.

The research, which polled 1,000 children in England aged 7-13 , coincides with the launch of a second wave of a Department of Health advertising campaign aimed at getting loved ones to quit smoking. It features real children, not actors, talking about how worried they are about their parents’ smoking. The adverts then invite parents to take the first step towards quitting by ordering a free Quit Kit online at www.nhs.uk/smokefree or by texting KIT to 63818.

NHS smokefree ambassador and TV star Linda Robson, said:
“Having seen my own Dad die from lung cancer aged 57, there’s no way I wanted to put my own children through that experience. The thought of my kids visiting me in hospital was a strong motivation for me and since I decided to quit, my three kids have been a huge support.

“There are times now when I still want to reach for a cigarette, but for my own health and for the benefit of my family I’m committed to staying smokefree. Since quitting I feel much better about myself. I’m feeling healthier, I have more energy and everyone is commenting on how good my skin looks. Knowing that my children are much happier since I stopped is also really important.

“It can be hard to quit, but by ordering a new Quit Kit and getting free expert help from the NHS you can make sure that you give yourself the best chance of success, in time to give you and your family the best Christmas present they could get.”

Anne Milton, Public Health Minister said:

“What’s clear from the research is that children really want their parents to give up smoking. It’s not easy to give up, but we hope the campaign will give people that extra bit of encouragement they need to quit.”

“Around half of all regular smokers are eventually killed by a smoking related illness. Quitting smoking can be tough, but it can be made easier by using help from the NHS by visiting www.nhs.uk/smokefree or calling 0800 085 5052 and taking advantage of the free advice and support available.”

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) said:

“Evidence shows that smokers need to be motivated to quit and need advice on how to quit.  This campaign does both.  Smokers may also find it easier to stop smoking not for their own sake but for the sake of their children or other members of their family.”

To order your Quit Kit visit nhs.uk/smokefree or text KIT to 63818, for help and advice about quitting call the NHS helpline on 0800 085 5052.

Posted by Emily Richardson

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