• The most effective means of protecting children from passive smoking is to reduce the prevalence of smoking in adults, and particularly parents and other carers

• So far, reductions in smoking prevalence have been much less marked in younger than older adults

• Tobacco control initiatives at population and individual level therefore need to be adapted and improved to target younger adults more effectively

• This will require a comprehensive strategy including: sustained increases in the real price of tobacco; further reduction in smuggling and illicit trade; investment in new and innovative mass media campaigns targeting smoking in younger adults; more effective health warnings; prohibition of point-of-sale display; generic standardized packaging; tailored cessation services; and a range of other policies

• Specific measures to prevent uptake of smoking, by preventing exposure of children to smoking in public and in the media; reducing the number and accessibility of tobacco retailers to children, imposing strict penalties on those who sell to children, and promoting peer-led and other school-based interventions are also needed

• It is important to promote smoke-free homes through mass media campaigns, advice and support from health professionals to smokers, and new approaches such as substituting cigarettes with medicinal nicotine

• Smoke-free legislation should be extended much more widely, to include public places frequented by children and young people, and to prohibit all smoking in cars and other vehicles; media campaigns are needed to explain the need to avoid exposing children to smoking as well as to smoke

• Governments and individuals have a duty to protect children from exposure to smoke and to smoking

• There is public support for more comprehensive tobacco control policies, and a strong ethical justification for these measures.

Source: Royal College of Physicians Press Statement, 22 June 2010