Not all smokers are irresponsible

From: Julie Wagland


In reply to Helen Shipley’s letter of March 22, I am the mother of an 18-month-old who has leukaemia.

I have spent months in the Sheffield Children’s Hospital whilst my little boy has been fighting his illness.

The ward my little boy attends has many children with various cancers. Unfortunately some of these lovely children do not survive.

Many parents on the ward smoke due to the very stressful and difficult situations they face on a daily basis.

I acknowledge that smokers should take full responsibility to ensure that they do not smoke around the entrance to the hospital, and that they should discard their cigarettes in an appropriate way so that it does not look untidy and dirty outside the hospital.

At times I have been outside smoking and I have taken bags outside, scraped cigarette ends up on top of the bin and disposed of them properly.

I also agree that people should be mindful of the environment and respect the improvements made outside the hospital to make it a less stressful place to visit. I am ashamed that being a smoker I am part of the group that continue to put their cigarettes in the flower beds!

The point I do not agree with in Helen Shipley’s letter is that smokers should always be with their children.

I advise her to visit a ward such as M3 where parents are with their children whilst they undergo life-saving treatments. It is extremely difficult to have time out.

You would acknowledge this if you had been on the ward for months rather than a trip to the A&E.

You are extremely lucky to have had a brief visit instead of months by your child’s bedside, praying for them to survive!

So Mrs Shipley, what would you do in that situation that we the other parents face daily? Perhaps reach for a glass of wine?

Before you make any assumptions regarding smokers who do not care for their children, I wish to point out that children with cancer DO NOT get it due to parents smoking.

I did not smoke when I was pregnant and have never smoked around my boy.