Smoking Around Kids Is Child Abuse

April Peveteaux

smoking around kids is child abuseA doctor who is tired of pussyfooting around health issues wrote an op-ed in The Guardian entitled, "Don't take offence if we lecture you on how to stay alive and healthy." Don't you love that very British headline?

Attacking overeating, excessive drinking, and smoking, Dr. Steve Field calls for tough love and personal responsibility in not only solving major health issues, but saving the National Health System in the UK a ton of money.

Of course the remarks that are getting the most attention have to do with parents taking care of small children:

The Royal College of General Practitioners' call earlier this year for parents to be banned from smoking in cars carrying their children and for parents to act as role models by giving their children healthier food rather than sugary and fatty rubbish that leads to heart disease and diabetes both caused an outcry, with some even accusing me of attacking their civil liberties. I believe that parents who smoke in cars carrying small children are committing a form of child abuse; I suppose the same people also smoke at home in front of their children. Evidence from the US indicates that more young children are killed by parental smoking than by all unintentional injuries combined.

Field goes on to say the same could be said of parents feeding their children junk food and not using sunscreen. Additionally, it sounds as if the doc is really fed up with telling people the right things to do for their health, and getting ignored. Or worse, having parents hurt their children with their own poor choices.

Too many people do not face up to the hard facts, as they perceive them to be an attack aimed, in particular at the poorer members of our society. But it is impossible to argue on medical or ethical grounds that such behaviour is acceptable. GPs are not spoilsports. We genuinely want people to be able to live healthy, fulfilling, and productive lives. But every day we are confronted with the harm caused by smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and obesity.

Basically, he's saying to take care of yourself and your kids because it's everyone's business.


Image via CoolMcFlash/Flickr

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