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More than one in 10 children with asthma have parents who smoke at home despite warnings it can make their condition worse, a new report released on World Asthma Day has found.  The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report also says overall asthma rates are declining but the gap between rich and poor Australians with asthma is increasing.  More than two million Australians suffer asthma, but the rate has fallen from 11.6 per cent in 2001 to 10.3 per cent in 2005-05.

Dr Guy Marks from the Australian Centre for Asthma Monitoring said the prevalence of asthma had fallen significantly among children and young adults since 2001.  "People with asthma rated their health better and reported fewer asthma-related days off work or study in 2004-05 than they did in 2001, although those with asthma still regarded their overall health as worse than those without asthma," he said.

The report, Asthma: results from the 2004-05 National Health Survey, also found the prevalence of asthma was significantly higher among people living in the most socially disadvantaged areas compared to the most wealthy area, at 10.8 per cent compared to 8.6 per cent.  The gap between the poorest and wealthiest Australians has widened since 2001, when it was 0.9 per cent.  "The underlying causes of asthma are unknown but this widening gap is an issue of concern," Dr Marks said.  But, Dr Marks said, one surprise in the report was that one quarter of adults with asthma were smokers.

And about 11 per cent of children with asthma were exposed to passive smoke in their home.  The rate of smoking among asthmatics is highest among young men, at 40 per cent, but drops with increasing age.  "These findings suggest that the presence of asthma is often not sufficient to motivate people to quit smoking," the report said.  "The damaging effects of both active and passive smoking on one's wellbeing are well known, but people with asthma who smoke have further ill health.  "People with asthma who smoke tend to have more severe asthma and find their asthma more difficult to control."

Smoking, which has been reported as a risk factor for asthma, also impairs the effectiveness of treatment such as inhaled corticosteroids.  Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal said treating asthmatics who smoked was like "trying to put out a fire with kerosene".  "They are trying to treat their asthma but on the other hand they are smoking, which aggravates it quite considerably," Dr Haikerwal said.

And Dr Haikerwal said the smoke was "awful for children".  "Young lungs are much more susceptible to smoke and the contents of smoke," he said.  "Smoking is seen to be very bad for health in general, but in terms of lung disease it's remarkable people still continue to smoke when they have lung diseases like asthma.  "It makes them significantly less likely to improve and more likely to get worse.


A smoking ban came into force in England in July 2007 in what campaigners called the biggest boost to public health since the creation of the National Health Service in 1948.  The ban has made all of Britain's public places smoke-free.  Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have already stubbed out smoking in public workplaces.  Ireland imposed the world's first nationwide ban on smoking in the workplace in 2004. US states, including Florida and California, have had similar bans since 2003.  In November 2004, Bhutan became the first country in the world to ban tobacco sales completely.  Here is a fact-box on some other countries which have banned smoking in some form since the beginning of last year.


* January - Spain bans smoking in offices, hospitals, schools and enclosed spaces. Belgium bans smoking in all workplaces.

* March - Uruguay bans smoking in public spaces, the stiffest restrictions on smoking in Latin America.

- A ban on smoking in all enclosed public places takes effect in Scotland.

* June - Nepal announces plans to ban smoking in public places and tobacco advertisements in newspapers.

* October - The smoky bars and cafes of Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, start a smoking ban. The new ban prohibits lighting up in public spaces smaller than 100 square metres.


* January - Hong Kong starts a ban on smoking in all indoor workplaces, as well as restaurants, parks and beaches. However bars, nightclubs and mah-jong parlours are exempted until 2009.

* February - France starts a ban on smoking in most public places including schools, hospitals and youth centres. A wider ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and hotels starts from 2008.

* April - Wales became the second country in the United Kingdom to ban smoking in public enclosed spaces.

- Smokers in Northern Ireland face fines if they light up in pubs, offices and other indoor public places after a smoking ban.

* May - Portugal's parliament approves a law banning smoking in almost all indoor public places.

- Dubai bans smoking in government buildings, schools and colleges the first step in a plan to disallow smoking across the Gulf Arab trade and tourism hub by the end of 2009.

* June - Finland and Iceland ban smoking in restaurants, cafes, bars. Estonia also starts a ban on smoking in bars, restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs.

* July 1 - Smoking ban in public places in England comes into effect.

A smoking ban takes effect at pubs and clubs in Australia's two most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria.

* January 2008, all cafes and restaurants in France place a ban on smoking.


One billion people will die of tobacco-related diseases this century unless governments in rich and poor countries alike get serious about preventing smoking, top World Health Organisation (WHO) experts said on Monday.

"Tobacco is a defective product. It kills half of its customers," Douglas Bettcher, head of the WHO's Tobacco Free Initiative, said at the start of an international conference in Bangkok to draw up a master plan for the world to kick the habit.  "It kills 5.4 million people per year and half of those deaths are in developing countries. That's like one jumbo jet going down every hour," he said.  With smoking rates in many developing countries on the rise, particularly among teenagers, that annual death toll would rise to 8.3 million within the next 20 years, he added.

However, if governments introduced measures such as aggressive taxation, banning cigarette advertising and making offices and public places totally tobacco-free, smoking rates could be halved by 2050, he said,  "It's a completely preventable epidemic," Bettcher said, citing countries such as Singapore, Australia and Thailand where tough anti-smoking laws have helped people to quit.  "If we do that, by 2050 we can save 200 million lives."

Officials from 147 countries are attending the week-long conference, which is likely to agree on binding laws against cross-border tobacco advertising - a move against events such as Formula One - as well as tougher legislation against cigarette smuggling.  Around 600 billion cigarettes were smuggled in 2006 - 11 per cent of the world's consumption - according to the Framework Convention Alliance (FAC), an umbrella group of hundreds of anti-tobacco organisations.  As well as keeping the prices artificially low and thereby stimulating demand, the counterfeit cigarette industry also deprives governments of more than $40 billion in missed taxes, the FCA estimates.

In Thailand, smoking rates have fallen from 30 per cent in 1992 to around 18 per cent, a decline health officials attribute to a ban on all domestic tobacco advertising 15 years ago.  "The most important medicines in tobacco control are: number one, increasing taxation; number two, bans on advertising; and number three, smoke-free public places," said Hatai Chitanondh of the Thailand Health Promotion Institute.

Besides agreeing to laws on cross-border advertising and smuggling, the conference is also likely to issue guidelines for countries introducing legislation on "second-hand smoke" and "smoke-free" areas.  Although not legally binding, anti-smoking campaigners are delighted with the explicit wording of the guidelines.

"There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke, and notions such as a threshold value for toxicity from second-hand smoke should be rejected as they are contradicted by scientific evidence," a draft copy of the guidelines said.  "Approaches other than 100 per cent smoke-free environments, including ventilation, air filtration and use of designated smoking areas have repeatedly been shown to be ineffective.

VEGETARIAN, ken laming, kenneth laming, frugan, health, fresh food, raw food, famous vegetarian, vegan, nutrition, fitness,

VEGETARIAN, ken laming, kenneth laming, frugan, health, fresh food, raw food, famous vegetarian, vegan, nutrition, fitness,