On average, only a handful of children are killed in auto accidents every Halloween in the United States. Although this reportedly is sometimes higher than any other night, the number still pales in comparison to the death toll from tobacco smoke.
According to the Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine and the New York Times, secondhand tobacco smoke kills more than one thousand children every year from diseases including respiratory syncytial bronchiolitis, asthmatic attacks, and other respiratory complications. This doesn't even include the larger number of deaths each year from SIDS apparently triggered by tobacco smoke.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that each year, even at the levels found in a home where only one parent smokes, smoke causes in children some 150,000-300,000 lower respiratory infections like pneumonia and bronchitis; 7,500-15,000 hospitalizations;
Thus, suggests Prof. John Banzhaf of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), adults should warn their children this Halloween, and also on other days, against visiting, going to parties, or playing in homes where adults smoke, especially in their presence.
They should also stay away from a parent, grandparent or other adult while the person is smoking, and avoid being seated in the smoking sections of restaurants - and in cars when adults are smoking - where exposure is far higher.
The National Confectioners Association and others say that the idea that Halloween candy is likely to be tainted with razor blades or poison is largely an urban myth. So perhaps parents, grandparents, and other adults should give more attention to warning children about more clearly established dangers.
PROFESSOR JOHN F. BANZHAF III
Professor of Public Interest Law at GWU,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
FELLOW, World Technology Network, and
Executive Director and Chief Counsel
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
America’s First Antismoking Organization
2013 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006, USA
(202) 659-4310 // (703) 527-8418
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Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), America's first anti-smoking and nonsmokers' rights organization, serves as the legal action arm of the anti-smoking community. It is supported by tax-deductible contributions.