Adopted on October 25, 2014 by the participants of the anniversary annual general meeting in Mainz (“10 years of Pro Smoke Free and not even tired yet!”):

How can we strengthen the protection of children from forced passive smoking?

Possible scenarios

  1. Smoking in the car in the presence of children
  2. Smoking in daycare centers and on their premises
  3. Smoking in playgrounds
  4. Smoking in child-minders’ homes
  5. Smoking at public events and in leisure facilities
  6. Smoking on school grounds
  7. Smoking at public transport stops
  8. Smoking during pregnancy
  9. Access to cigarette vending machines
  10. Omnipresent tobacco advertising on billboards

Why do children need special protection from harmful tobacco smoke?

Around half of all children under the age of six live in a smoking household.

Children are particularly sensitive to tobacco smoke. Their organs, especially their respiratory organs, are not yet fully developed and their bodies cannot break down toxins to the same extent as adults. Because they breathe more frequently, they absorb more pollutants from the indoor air than adults. In rooms where people smoke, the pollutants are deposited on furniture, walls and carpets and are inhaled again when the air moves. The situation is particularly bad in the car, which is a very small space to smoke in.

An infant dying from sudden infant death syndrome is up to four times more likely if they live in a household with smokers than if the household is smoke-free.

Children of smoking parents are generally more susceptible to allergies and illnesses, in particular:

  • Acute and chronic middle ear infections
  • Pneumonia and bronchitis
  • Asthma and other respiratory diseases
  • Allergic eczema and neurodermatitis

In addition, there is increased blood pressure and damage to the blood vessels, more frequent headaches, and sleep and concentration problems.

In addition, children from smoking families have an increased risk of developing cancer. For example, the risk of developing nasal cancer increases threefold.

Children usually cannot assert themselves in a world of smoking adults. Protests against smoke or complaints about physical impairments are often dismissed as childishness and not taken seriously.

To protect our children from forced smoking and living spaces contaminated by tobacco smoke

Pro Rauchfrei e.V. calls for the following non-smoking rules

Smoke-free cars. Smoking should generally not be allowed in a car, due to the increased risk of accidents caused by distraction and the risk of harm to others from cigarettes thrown out of the window (e.g. a recent catastrophic event in the Mont Blanc tunnel that involved a convertible). Smoking should generally be prohibited, especially if children are traveling with you, so that there is no damage caused by passive smoking or third-hand smoke (toxic tobacco smoke deposits). Opening car windows is not sufficient: the smoke does not go away, but is largely pushed back into the vehicle.

Smoke-free daycare centers including grounds. People supervising children should not have smoke on their hair, hands or clothes. Your working hours must remain smoke-free.

Smoke-free playgrounds. Cigarette smoke and cigarette butts are dangerous for small children. Smoking adults also model smoking as normal.

Smoke-free apartments for child-minders. Homes where children are cared for should be completely free of tobacco smoke and its toxic pollutants.

Smoke-free public events and leisure facilities, even if they take place outdoors. In a densely packed crowd, the smoke has no outlet to escape immediately. It settles over the crowd like a haze and only slowly evaporates. Again, children are particularly affected because smokers usually hold their cigarettes at children’s level. There is also a risk of burning and scorching.

Smoke-free school grounds. The clouds of smoke in front of the entrances or in the school yard harm children and also tempt them to start smoking themselves.

Smoke-free bus / tram stops. In crowds it is difficult for smoke to escape, especially in covered bus shelters and in bad weather (which can cause air inversion). People who smoke should keep a minimum distance of five meters from a stop. Together with the tobacco advertising at bus stops, children are also massively tempted to smoke.

Special awareness campaigns for pregnant women. Expectant mothers need to become more aware of the dangers they are exposing their unborn children to. At the same time, fathers are also required to abstain so that they do not burden their partners with passive smoke and encourage them to quit smoking. Incidentally, smoking should generally not be allowed in households with children (passive smoke and third-hand exposure through clothing and furniture / surfaces).

NO access to cigarette machines. Vending machines are the ideal route for young people to get cigarettes. There is no control over who pays with which card. This can be “borrowed” or even given to you by careless parents to buy cigarettes. Youth protection does not apply here.

NO tobacco advertising. Tobacco advertising is omnipresent. Huge posters, including at bus stops and in front of schools, and elaborate commercials in cinemas from 6 p.m. onwards, have a high level of suggestive power. The public message should be “Smoking makes you addicted and sick” instead of “Smoking is part of being an adult.”