How to Slash Halloween Fatalities Among Kids

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How to Slash Halloween Fatalities Among Kids; Parental Smoking More Dangerous Than Cars And Tainted Treats Combined

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Slashing Halloween Fatalities

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 28, 2021): This Halloween millions of parents – and many grandparents, friends, and neighbors – will all warn young children about the dangers from eating candy which hasn't been inspected, or of being hit by a car, but most will fail to warn them about the biggest risk - one which will kill more kids this Halloween than all of the others combined: smoking in their presence.

The National Confectioners Association reassures us that the idea the Halloween candy may contain razor blades, poison, or drugs is largely a myth, with virtually no known injuries or fatalities.

Also, on average, only a small number of children are killed each Halloween from being hit by cars. Although this is reportedly more than any other night, the number still pales in comparison to the death toll from parental smoking.

Indeed, the total number of pedestrians under 14 killed all year during 2019 was only 181 - ages 5-9 = 46; less than 5 = 57; and 10-14 = 78 - for average of just under one young pedestrian every other day,

In sharp contrast, as the New York Times reported, "at least 6,200 children die each year [17/day] in the United States because of their parents' smoking . . . More young children are killed by parental smoking than by all unintentional injuries combined,'' and that parental smoking annually causes over five million serious ailments which add almost five billion dollars to the nation's medical expense costs.

Even if children are not present in a home when a parent smokes, the residue - which tends to collect on furniture, rugs, and carpets - is carcinogenic and thus can ultimately cause death, as well as trigger serious respiratory distress in children exposed to it who have asthma, allergies, and a variety of other conditions.

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The Dangers Of Tobacco Smoke Residue

The dangers and medical problems caused by tobacco smoke residue are so serious that even adults have been held to be entitled to legal protection from exposure to it in the workplace.

Despite all the warnings and educational messages, children are still more heavily exposed to secondhand smoke than adults. Thus 4 out of every 10 U.S. children aged 3-11 are exposed to tobacco smoke pollution, primarily in their own homes by parents or guardians.

Even at the levels found in a home where only one parent smokes, tobacco smoke still annually causes in children some 150,000-300,000 lower respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis; 7,500-15,000 hospitalizations; 200,000-1,000,000 asthma attacks; 8,000-26,000 new cases of asthma; and a very large increase in deaths among infants from SIDS.

A federal study shows that at little as 20 minutes of exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke can impair the breathing of nonsmokers. Although the study involved adults, it’s quite likely that the effect would be even greater among children because their tiny lungs are still developing, because young children tend to be far more sensitive to many airborne pollutants than adults, and because they often do not move away from a smoker.

Also, residences and other indoor areas where smoking occurs even when children are not present — including, for example, day care centers — may contain large deposits of tobacco smoke residue which can quickly trigger breathing problems in young children, and has also been proven to cause cancer.

Thus, suggests Professor John Banzhaf, who founded and ran our nation’s largest antismoking organization, adults should warn children this Halloween, and also on other days, against visiting, going to parties, or playing in homes where adults smoke, especially when the child is present.

They should also stay away from a parent, grandparent, or other adult while they are smoking, and avoid being anywhere with smoking sections – and in cars when adults are smoking – where exposure is far higher.

Banzhaf notes that smoking around a child has even been considered as a factor in child custody disputes in most states, and a reason to limit the rights of the smoking parent. He also warns that some parents have actually lost custody for deliberately exposing their children to this carcinogenic toxic substance.

Although some smokers have shifted, in whole or in part, to the use of electronic or “e-cigarettes,” those around them are still placed in danger, especially if they have allergies, hay fever, sinusitis, and/or other respiratory problems, which are more common and more serious in children than in adults.

That’s why, for example, New York State has joined many other states and localities in banning the use of such products in areas - such as restaurants and other public places - where the use of conventional tobacco cigarettes is also prohibited. Thus they are being classified as “cigarettes.” Nicotine, heavy metals and tiny particles that can harm the lungs have been found in secondhand e-cigarette aerosol, according to the Surgeon General.

So, let’s let children enjoy Halloween!

But help keep them safe from tobacco smoke and vaping, not just cars, Banzhaf suggests.

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