Third of smokers 'light up at home'
More than a third of smokers are putting their loved ones' health at risk by lighting up at home, a study has found.
The research showed that despite the dangers of passive smoking, the majority of people (61%) are more worried about the health of the smoker.
This concern has led to more half of those questioned pleading with the smoker in their lives to quit.
The statistics have been released by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which is urging people to give up the habit and put their families first today, No Smoking Day.
Some 18% of the 2,000 people surveyed wrongly believe that opening windows offers them protection from the harmful effects of cigarette smoke, the research found.
The majority of harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke are invisible and opening a window does little to prevent the harm of passive smoking reaching other people.
Passive smoke leads to an increased risk of coronary heart disease and other health problems such as asthma. Children are particularly at risk and passive smoking appears to more than double the risk of developing bacterial meningitis.
Youngsters who are exposed to smoking in their homes are more than three times more likely to smoke than those who are brought up in smoke-free environments.
Kicking the habit is the single best thing a smoker can do for their health and the health of those around them, said the BHF.
The charity's associate medical director, Dr Mike Knapton, said: "Every week, thousands of children are exposed to passive smoke in enclosed spaces, putting them at greater risk of respiratory infections, asthma, and sudden infant death. Simply opening a window does not protect your children from breathing in harmful chemicals.
"Smoking is not healthy for smokers or for the people around them. If you're a smoker and looking to quit, reach out to your pharmacist or local stop smoking team on No Smoking Day for information and advice. Join the nearly one million smokers in the UK who are expected to quit this No Smoking Day."
Hamad-ul Rahman, a 35-year-old ex-smoker, took up the habit when he was 14 years old because he saw his father smoke, and by the time he was in his 20s was smoking 20 to 30 cigarettes a day.
He said: "When my wife and I got married I started to cut back with her support, and when she became pregnant with our first daughter, I decided to quit for good. I wanted to be an example to my kids, and I also wanted to be able to run about with them.
"Quitting smoking was the hardest thing I've ever done, but I'm so glad that I did."
On October 1, a ban on smoking in cars carrying children will come into effect in England. Under the ban, drivers or passengers who are caught smoking will face a £50 fixed penalty.
Dr Knapton welcomed the ban, saying it was "long overdue", adding that passive smoking was particularly harmful in enclosed spaces such as cars.
It is though that around one million smokers will attempt quit attempt this No Smoking Day.