Santa Claus Quits Smoking to Protect Mrs. C and Kids - ASH

Santa Claus will deliver toys this year without his pipe because of growing concerns about his health, the health of Mrs. Claus and children everywhere, and the growing number of court orders and even laws prohibiting smoking in homes with children.
By: Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
 
Dec. 21, 2010 - PRLog -- Santa Claus will deliver toys this year without his pipe - and its smoke encircling his head like a wreath - because of growing concerns about his health, the health of Mrs. Claus and children everywhere, and the growing number of court orders and even laws prohibiting smoking in homes with children.

This way, he said in an email to Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), he will not be endangering the health of billions of children, many of whom have medical conditions which make them especially sensitive to secondhand tobacco smoke.

Indeed, Santa's decision comes just weeks after the World Health Organization [WHO] reported that an estimated 165,000 children die each year because of secondhand tobacco smoke. While most of these deaths occur in poorer countries, many people refuse to recognize that - as the New York Times has reported - parental smoking kills more than one thousand children each year in the U.S. alone.

Reacting to the growing evidence - as just reported by the U.S. Surgeon General - that even small amounts of secondhand tobacco smoke pose very serious health risks to young children, and especially to the tens of millions who already have asthma, hay fever, sinusitis, or other respiratory problems and sensitivities, Santa said that he had given up smoking.

He also noted other studies showing that thousands of children die or are made ill each year from second hand smoke. Santa also recognized that in thousands of homes, both here and abroad, all smoking is banned by a court order or, in the case of homes where foster children live, by legislation or agency regulations.

In addition, since smoking has been banned in so many public places in order to protect adults, Santa believed that it was time to extend the same protection to young children who are the most vulnerable and defenseless nonsmokers.  He urged parents to follow his example, or at least not to smoke within a home where there are children.

Santa's decision was announced by Prof. John Banzhaf of ASH who had written a letter to old Saint Nick. Instead of asking for presents, Banzhaf asked Santa to recognize that times have changed, and that what was once seen as a harmless habit is now a deadly danger to children. Santa agreed.

Prior letters by Banzhaf led to antismoking messages on radio and television, a ban on cigarette commercials, bans on smoking in many public places, judges banning smoking in custody cases and, more recently, bans on smoking in the homes of foster children and in cars when children are present.

“Christmas is about children, and it is wonderful that Santa Claus is setting such a wonderful example in protecting them from tobacco smoke pollution. The most important and lasting gift any smoker can give a child is to give up smoking, or at least to stop smoking around his or her children," said Banzhaf.

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)
701 4th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001, USA
(202) 659-4310 // (703) 527-8418
Internet: http://ash.org/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/AshOrg

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Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) serves as the legal action arm of the anti-smoking community. It is supported by tax-deductible contributions.
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