Fife pupils highlight the dangers of second-hand smoke

Pupils from Lynburn Primary School in Dunfermline. Pic: George Mcluskie
Pupils from Lynburn Primary School in Dunfermline. Pic: George Mcluskie

Pupils from Fife have been highlighting how the harmful chemicals from second-hand smoke can linger for up to five hours.

Youngsters showed their support for the Take It Right Outside campaign as parents were encouraged to help protect their generation from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

Because 85 per cent of all second-hand smoke is invisible and odourless, many do not realise that the harmful chemicals are still waiting for children when they come in from playing or school.

Research to support the Scottish Government campaign highlighted people still think smoking in one room or leaving the door or window open is enough to protect their children, unaware that the second-hand smoke lingers and can move from room to room long after they think the smoke has gone.

The only way to ensure children are properly protected from the hidden dangers of second hand smoke is to take smoking right outside of the home or car.

Youngsters exposed to second-hand smoke at home are more at risk of coughs, colds, ear problems, chest infections, wheezing, asthma, breathlessness and poorer lung function.

The campaign is targeting those who think they are already doing enough to protect their children by highlighting the practical steps they can take to make their car and home smoke-free.

The Scottish Government has a target of reducing the proportion of children exposed to second hand smoke to six per cent by 2020 – and with the target now five years away, the pupils at Lynburn Primary in Dunfermline are the latest to show their support for making homes in Scotland smoke-free.

Anne Yarham, headteacher at Lynburn Primary School, said: “I’m delighted our pupils have had the opportunity to raise awareness of such an important issue. I think a lot of people will be surprised by how long second-hand smoke can linger, so it’s definitely a campaign I’m happy for the school to get behind.”

Maureen Watt, minister for public health, said: “We want every child in Scotland to breathe clean air when they’re in the home or the car.

“Children breathe faster than adults, and therefore breathe in more of the harmful chemicals contained in second-hand smoke. This campaign is about making sure people are aware that smoking in one room, or at an open window or back door, isn’t enough to protect them due to the fact that second-hand smoke lingers for up to five hours.

“The only way to ensure that a home is smoke-free is to never smoke indoors.

“We understand that everyone’s situation is different, but there are small changes parents can make to their smoking behaviour which will pay dividends in terms of protecting their children from second-hand smoke.”

For help and advice on how to take smoking right outside, visit