“Well, at least the car won’t get cancer.”

That’s the headline on the website for Tobacco Free CA, a program that hopes to reduce the number of smokers in California and improve overall health in the state. The cars-and-cancer headline is part of an effort to highlight the dangers of smoking in a vehicle when there are other passengers.

A similar effort has kicked off here with UTC nursing students partnering with Tobacco-Free Chattanooga for the Smoke-Free Cars campaign. While secondhand smoke is harmful to everyone in a vehicle, one of the main focuses of the program is to show how it can especially hurt children.

“Children are most vulnerable because of their body size and their more frequent and deeper breathing; and they are captives of adult decisions,” Tobacco-Free Chattanooga says in a news release. “Children are not the only people it is important to protect. Smoking in the car poisons everyone in it.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children exposed to secondhand smoke, have higher rates of:

  • Sudden infant death syndrome
  • Lower-respiratory illness
  • Middle ear infections
  • Asthma

“Exposure during childhood to environmental tobacco smoke may also be associated with development of cancer during adulthood,” the organization says.

UTC Nursing students will be handing out information and car decals with the Smoke-Free Car campaign logo, signing students up to participate in the campaign. They also will oversee the social media promotions.

Smoke-Free Cars decals are available in the UTC Health Education and Wellness Promotion Office, located in room 143D of the University Center.
If you have any questions about the Smoke-Free Cars campaign, would like to get involved or need promotional materials, email paulac@hamiltontn.gov.

For a factsheet on the ways that secondhand smoke can adversely affect children, go to https://www.tobaccofreekids.org/assets/factsheets/0334.pdf.

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call (423) 425-4363.
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