HEALTH ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN 5
Issue and Affected Population
The chosen health issue is children’s exposure to secondhand smokewhile in the home environment. The issue affects children who arebelow 5 years of age. In homes where parents smoke, children belowthe age of 5 are at a higher risk of exposure to secondhand smoking.This is because the children are too young to make rationaldecisions, like the need to move away from their parents once theystart smoking and the children are unaware of the harm to theirhealth. Hence, parents must be held accountable for ensuring thatthey do not expose their children to secondhand smoking while athome.
Secondhand smoking refers to the involuntary smoking, which happenswhen close to a person smoking. The smoker exhales tobacco smoke,which is unknowingly inhaled by the non-smoker. Jarvie and Malone(2008) suggest that states should provisionally restrain adultfreedom via secondhand smoking restraints to safeguard children inprivate spaces. The authors begin by noting that many children arenot protected from involuntary smoking, specifically in homes. It hasbeen specifically difficult to implement laws that protect childrenin such areas due to the rights and ethics issues raised concerningprivate space. Many Americans believe that the home environment is aprivate space and thus have a right to privacy. However, Jarvie andMalone (2008) argue that when the right to privacy threatens thehealth of others, like children, then the state has a mandate tointerfere with the privacy.
In a different advocacy campaign, Moore et al (2015) suggest that byreducing socio-economic differences, it is possible to reducesecondhand smoke exposure in homes, especially to children. Theauthors argue that laws implemented in some states against parentssmoking in cars have been partly effective as the figure of parentswho continue to smoke in cars with children has declined. However,the home environment still presents specific challenges inimplementing similar laws. Moore et al (2015) acknowledge thatsmoking is still allowed in many homes that have children. Smoke-freelaws are especially uncommon in poor families. Children from suchfamilies are at a higher risk of secondhand smoke exposure because ofhigher incidences of parents smoking caused by stress due to theireconomic status. Also, parents from poor families smoke while closerto the children as their houses are smaller. By reducing these socioeconomic disparities, parents from poor families may reduce smoking,and at the same time stop smoking close to their children.
Effectiveness of the Campaigns
There are a number of attributes making the campaigns by Jarvie andMalone (2008) and Moore et al (2015) effective. The campaigns havestraightforward policy suggestions. By reading both articles, it isclear to understand and identify the policy solutions the authorshave proposed. The campaigns provide background information on theissue. Each article begins by introducing the problem and explainingwhy it is a major issue as well as the population affected. Anotherfactor that makes the campaigns effective is that they incorporateresearch from existing literature on the issue. This enhances thecredibility of the campaign. It also informs on policies that havealready been implemented and whether they have been effective or not.The authors then base their policies on what is anticipated to beeffective in stopping secondhand smoke exposure to children while intheir home environments.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (2016) evenindividuals who are non-smokers inhale the smoke of people who smoke,which is equally harmful to ones wellbeing. Millions of children areexposed to secondhand smoke while at home. It is more harmful to themas their lungs are still developing. Parents who smoke in thepresence of their children expose them to danger. The Centers forDisease Control and Prevention (2016) notes that when parentssmoke with their children close by, the children are likely to sufferfrom ear infections, become asthmatic, wheeze and cough more often.Also, the children are more prone to illnesses as compared tochildren not exposed to secondhand smoke.
Ban smoking in home areas and legalize impromptu checks by lawenforcers in homes with children less than 5 years, where the parentsare suspected to continue smoking within the home environment.
Unlike in the workplaces and other public places where it is possibleto monitor the actions of smokers, bans in homes are not aseffective. Parents may continue to smoke at home, specifically whenthere is no one around to observe them. Impromptu checks instill thefear that someone could be caught at any time breaking the law, whichworks by reducing smoking cases while children are around.
Make it illegal for parents who have children to smoke in the home environment.
Allow law enforcers to protect the health of children via impromptu searches in homes where parents with children are suspected to smoke at home.
Reduce the frequency of smoking and eventually stop smoking in the home environment.
Enhance knowledge on the negative health effects of secondhand smoke on children.
American Academy of Pediatrics. (2016). The dangers ofsecondhand smoke. Retrieved from:https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/tobacco/Pages/Dangers-of-Secondhand-Smoke.aspx
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Healtheffects of secondhand smoke. Retrieved from:http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/secondhand_smoke/health_effects/index.htm#children
Jarvie, J. A & Malone, R. E. (2008). Children’s secondhandsmoke exposure in private homes and cars: An ethical analysis.American Journal of Public Health, 98(12), 2140-2145.
Moore, G. F., Moore, L., Littlecott, H. J., Ahmed, N., Lewis, S.,Sulley, G., Jones, E & Holliday, J. (2015). Prevalence of smokingrestrictions and child exposure to secondhand smoke in cars andhomes: A repeated cross-sectional survey of children aged 10-11 yearsin Wales. British Medical Journal, 5(1).