A three-year, pounds 13.5m drive to curb smoking was launched by the Government yesterday, aimed particularly at parents whose habit can cause serious damage to their children's health.
New research - to be published shortly - says that many parents who smoke in the home do not believe that it may cause ill-health to their children, or have an influence on the actions of their offspring.
But a recent study said nearly 50 children under five were admitted to hospital every day suffering from illnesses such as asthma and bronchitis because of passive smoking.
The drive - spearheaded by a series of television advertisements and backed by an information campaign among GPs, health visitors and midwives - will attempt to reduce further the number of smokers, down from half the adult population 20 years ago to just over a quarter of the adult population today.
But, outlining the thrust of the campaign, Baroness Cumberlege, a junior health minister, reiterated the Government's determination to resist a total ban on the advertising of cigarettes, which many anti- smoking pressure groups argue could cut consumption significantly.
She said Britain had a good record in cutting the number of smokers to a level that is second only in Europe to that of the Netherlands. …