Research shows that over half of the children living in Northern Ireland’s most deprived areas are living with an adult smoker. This data is contained in an Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) snapshot report, Smoke-Free Spaces on the island of Ireland.
This report presents information from a range of different sources on the progress that is being made, North and South, towards the development of smoke-free workplaces, cars, health services and public places. Smoke-Free Spaces on the island of Ireland is being published today at an IPH tobacco control workshop in Belfast.
IPH CEO, Dr Elizabeth Mitchell, said that in the Northern Ireland community as a whole, less than four in ten children in 2013 said they were living with an adult smoker – down from 52% 10 years previously. While welcoming this development, Dr Mitchell highlighted that the data shows major variations according to people’s socio-economic status.
“Children living in the most deprived areas are more than twice as likely to be living with an adult smoker. In fact 58% of 11 to 16 year olds from the most deprived areas lived with an adult smoker in 2013 as compared to 25% of children living in the least deprived areas.”
Dr Mitchell said the data – from the Young Persons Behaviour and Attitudes Survey – shows significant changes have occurred in terms of smoking behaviours inside Northern Ireland homes.
“In 2003, of those young people aged 11-16 who were co-resident with an adult smoker, almost four-in-five (79%) reported that an adult smoked inside their home. A decade later, two-in-five (42%) young people co-resident with an adult smoker reported that an adult smoked inside their home.”
Dr Mitchell said that while the data shows that considerable progress has been made in reducing children’s exposure to smoking in their homes, exposures among children living in disadvantaged circumstances are deeply concerning in terms of the impact on child health.
“Serious consideration needs to be given to providing greater supports to people in deprived areas to help them to quit smoking as well as addressing the root causes of such health inequalities.”
Notes to Editors
Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH)
The Institute of Public Health in Ireland is an all-island body which supports cooperation on public health North and South to promote collective action for sustained improvements in health with a particular focus on addressing health inequalities.
Previous IPH Smoke-Free Publications
IPH has published two previous major analyses in relation to creating a smoke-free island over recent years:
- In 2015, the Institute published Smoke-Free Spaces: Progress in reducing exposure to second-hand smoke in Northern Ireland incorporating the five-year review of smoke-free legislation (Smoke-free spaces: Progress in reducing exposure to second-hand smoke in Northern Ireland incorporating the five year review of smoke-free legislation);
- In conjunction with the TobaccoFree Research Institute Ireland, IPH published A Tobacco-Free Future – an all-island report on tobacco inequalities and childhood (http://www.publichealth.ie/document/iph-report/tobacco-free-future-all-i...).
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