AMA campaign to stop parents smoking near babies and children

The AMA will give away a bib saying "If You Smoke, I Smoke" to every baby born in WA hospitals during June.

The bib giveaway, launched at King Edward Memorial Hospital today, is the centrepiece of a campaign to encourage parents not to smoke near their baby or children.

"Everyone knows the dangers of passive smoking and we want parents to think twice before lighting up near their kids," AMA (WA) President Dr Brent Donovan said.

"There are many links between smoking and childhood illnesses including cot deaths and childhood asthma and our bib campaign will help remind parents of these dangers."

"A recent AMA study at a suburban hotel demonstrated just how serious passive smoking can be for adults and this would be many times more damaging for young children," Dr Donovan said.

Paediatric respiratory physician Dr Stephen Stick said a reduction in smoking near children would result in a dramatic drop in childhood respiratory problems.

"About 40% of children are still exposed to passive smoke and I see kids on a daily basis who would be far better off if their parents stopped smoking," Dr Stick said.

"Kids exposed to smoking are more likely to develop a range of respiratory illnesses including croup, bronchitis, bronchiolitis and pneumonia compared to children living in smoke-free environments."

"Exposure to tobacco smoke during the first 18 months of life may increase this risk by up to 60% and children exposed to cigarette smoke are more susceptible to coughs, colds and middle ear infections. They are also at an increased risk of becoming asthmatic with ongoing asthma attacks," he said.

Dr Donovan said he thanked hospitals across the state for agreeing to hand out the bibs to new parents and especially to King Edward Memorial Hospital for supporting the launch.

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