More than 300,000 children visit their GP practice each year due to the effects of second hand smoke exposure, research has revealed.
Published by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) the figures highlight the danger of smoking in cars and homes.
Treatments, hospital and GP visits for secondhand smoke related illneses cost the NHS more than £23.6 million every year.
The figures are released as part of a government campaign to increase awareness of the danger of secondhand smoke.
As the campaign launches, a new survey highlights that despite the risks, many children are still exposed to secondhand smoke, with close to 70% of parents who smoke admitting to doing so in the car with their children present
And close to 75% of smoking parents were shocked to hear that secondhand smoke affects the health of so many children.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies said:
“It’s well known that smoking kills, but many smokers still don’t realise the damage their smoke causes to those around them.
“Secondhand smoke can be an invisible killer and with around 300,000 children seeing their GP each year because of it, we need to make sure people know how dangerous it can be.”
Smokers can be directed to the NHS Smokefree website to order a free quit smoking kit, as well as view facts, tips and tools.