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Babies Need Smokefree Environments Too

Thursday 13 October 2005

Babies Need Smokefree Environments Too, Say Health Groups

Health groups are welcoming an increased focus on the effects of tobacco smoking on unborn babies.

“New Zealand has a proud record in smokefree environments”, said Smokefree Coalition Director Leigh Sturgiss, “but we need to ensure that this protection is extended to unborn babies. The womb is a baby’s first home, and should be smokefree.

“All woman are encouraged to be smokefree; those who are pregnant will be protecting not just themselves, but their unborn child.”

Public Health Association spokesperson Michelle Mako said that the recent focus on smokefree workplaces and homes had made New Zealanders increasingly aware of the harms caused by second-hand smoke – which includes chemicals like arsenic, hydrogen cyanide, ammonia and carbon monoxide.

“Now we need to ensure that parents know that a child also needs a smokefree home before birth.”

Dr Don Simmers, New Zealand Medical Association maternity spokesman, said that health professionals had a key role to play in encouraging parents to make the link between smoking and a baby’s development in the womb.

“It is important that parents understand that babies exposed to smoke in the womb receive fewer nutrients and less oxygen. All parents want the best for their children, and this knowledge will make smoking seem less desirable.”

ENDS

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