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A Policy Brief on Environmental Tobacco Exposure in Children - Term Paper Example

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A Policy Brief on Environmental Tobacco Exposure in Children Institution’s name: Date: Introduction Approximately in the whole world forty percent (40%) of children are prone to secondhand smoke (SHS)(WHO, 2009)…
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A Policy Brief on Environmental Tobacco Exposure in Children s Introduction Approximately in the whole world forty percent (40%) of children are prone to secondhand smoke (SHS)(WHO, 2009). Even thought exposure to tobacco smoke results to extreme damages to adults and children, children and infants are highly vulnerable to secondhand smoke toxicity as a result of their age. Exposure to tobacco smoke results to sudden death syndrome among infants, diminished birth weight, asthma, pneumonia, Ottis media and in addition to that, the children lung functioning is always impaired by the smoke(Cook, 1999). Tobacco smoke exposure has health effects that are detrimental and often reflect themselves as an individual grows up. As a matter of fact, children living with parents with smoking habits are always prone to the effects of SHS. Because of the potential effects of secondhand smoke, health organizations such as World Health Organization are developing an agenda to combat children exposure to second hand smoke (Hovel et al., 2000). Scale of the Problem As a result of the difficulties in legislating bans in both private and public domain, very little legal action is in place to prevent young children from exposure to secondhand smoke in their homes. According to empirical studies, smoking has numerous negative health impacts. However, the utilization of tobacco is increasing globally. For instance, in the United States, maternal smoking prevalence during their pregnancies has been projected to be fourteen point one percent (14.1%) in 2005(Tong et al., 2009). Evidences have demonstrated a correlation between maternal smoking and birth outcomes characterized by unfavorable consequences and neurobehavioral child development. Maternal smoking has been linked to externalizing behaviors in children such as hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit, aggression and conduct disorder. Apart from externalizing behaviors, internalizing problems including withdrawal and anxious behaviors have been linked to maternal smoking. A variety of intervention programs have been developed to reduce secondhand smoke among children, to be precise in their homes. These intervention are such as utilization of voluntary smoking, counseling and parental education. These interventions have not been effective in achieving the goals stated. According to the review carried out by Cochrane Collaboration in 2006, of the 36 trials performed, only eleven showed significant statistical reductions in SHS children exposure. The review stated that” Although several interventions including parental education and counseling programs have been used to try to reduce children tobacco smoke exposure, their effectiveness has not been clearly demonstrated.”(Priest, 2008). The failure of the programs is due to the prevailing challenges linked to parental practices and beliefs. Numerous literatures have identified several significant challenges to preventing exposure of children to secondhand smoke. Most of them have focused on those challenges associated with parental practices and beliefs regarding their smoking habit impacts on their children and the effectiveness of the measures employed. The principal challenge is denial by parents of the detrimental impacts of secondhand smoke caused by their smoking habits. Policy Options The health departments belonging to the state should identify factors that are of significance in environmental and policy change interventions. For purposes of eliminating the health effects resulting due to children exposure to secondhand smoke, there should be bun of tobacco smoking at home. The ban should not be a voluntary one but mandatory. As such, anyone who disobeys that rule should face severe consequences. The main aim of coming up with this policy is because; the Clean Air Act only protects adults while excluding children whose health is very fragile. Even though voluntary policies are effective to some extent, they have their own limitations. For instance, reaching an agreement with individuals concerned is extremely difficult, it also involves the enforcement agencies and takes time to be implemented. In that case, the state should ban the smoking of tobacco at home so as to protect the lives of children who are voiceless. Conclusion Designing of various programs is necessary to eliminate the children’s health problems associated with secondhand smoke. The programs should focus on behavior change and social marketing approaches that are parent focused thus allowing parents to be part of the program. Apart from those programs, various techniques such as behavioral intensive counseling, new born smoking mothers brief intervention and interviewing children coming from low-income households helps in reducing children exposure to secondhand smoke and parental smoking. Even though these programs are significant in reducing children exposure to secondhand smoke, prohibiting smoking in homes is the most perfect. Implementation of this policy will help reduce health problems such as respiratory track diseases such as bronchitis, pneumonia, croup and colds. The development of a child is also affected by the secondhand smoke. This makes the cognitive skills of a child to significantly reduce such as reading, logic and mathematics. References Cook, D.G, Strachan, D. (1999). Health effects of passive smoking 10: Summary of Effects of parental smoking on the respiratory health of children and tobacco smoke: randomized controlled trial. BMJ, 321, p.337-342 Hovel, M., Zakarian, J., Matt. G., Hofstetter. R., Bernert. J. and Pirkle. J. (2000). Effect of counseling mothers on their children’s exposure to environmental implications for research. Thorax, 54, pp.357-366. Priest, N., Roseby, R., Waters, E., Polnay, A., Campbell, R., Spencer, N., Webster, P., and Ferguson-Thorne, G.(2008). Family and career smoking control programmes for reducing children’s exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 4: CD001746. Tong, V. T., Jones, J. R., Dietz, P. M., D’Angelo, D., and Bombard, J. M. (2009). Trends in smoking before, during, and after pregnancy—Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Surveillance Summaries, 58, 1–29. World Health Organization. (2009). WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic: Implementing smoke-free environments. Retrieved 26 April, 2012 from, http:// www.who.int/tobacco/mpower/2009/en/index.html. Read More
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