Air Quality Monitors Highlight Harm From Smoking

Smokers across Forth Valley are being invited to use air quality monitors in their homes to check how smoke is damaging them and their families. The monitors are available through the Health Promotion Department at NHS Forth Valley as part of a drive towards smokefree homes and cars, and show how smoke can move through the home and linger for up to five hours.

Data is collected during monitoring and once the devices are returned to the Health Promotion Department, the figures can be downloaded to produce a graph showing smoke peaks and troughs and where it doesn’t disperse so quickly.

NHS Forth Valley Stop-Smoking Co-ordinator Gillian Bruce said: “Unfortunately cigarette smoke does not always drift the way we would like it to drift, and the majority of smoke is odourless and colourless. It’s all very well standing at the front door or opening the kitchen window to smoke, thinking you are minimising the risk, but using an air quality monitor can show families exactly how the smoke moves within their house.”

Exposure to second hand smoke is associated with a range of illnesses and diseases in babies and children including asthma, respiratory infections and meningitis.  Pre-school children are especially at risk from second hand smoke due to their higher respiratory rate and the fact they tend to spend longer periods in the home.

The move to issue air quality monitors is part of a campaign to make homes and cars smokefree. From 5th December 2016 smoking in cars carrying children will be banned in Scotland. The new legislation will mean fines of up to £100 for anyone who smokes in a car which has a passenger under the age of 18 and it is estimated that around 60,000 children are exposed to smoke in cars each week in Scotland.

NHS Forth Valley Public Health Practitioner Davy Cairns said: “The national smoking ban in cars carrying children not only protects them from conditions linked to second hand smoke such as bronchiolitis, pneumonia and asthma, but also sends a strong signal that smoking is not cool. People may think that this new legislation is an invasion of privacy but it’s what is safest for your kids. Years ago people felt the same way about seat belt legislation but no one  travels now without buckling in their children.”

People who require air quality monitors are asked to call 01786 433293. It is hoped that once they have proof of how smoke is causing damage to their family, they will be encouraged to try to quit tobacco with the support of staff from NHS Forth Valley’s Stop Smoking service.