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Dalmatian dog is helping children across Northumberland understand the effects of second-hand smoke

Tuesday, 25 November, 2014
Dalmatian dog is helping children across Northumberland understand the effects of second-hand smoke

The adventures of a Dalmatian dog named Domino are helping children understand the effects of second-hand smoke.

Domino is the central character of a book for children produced by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Tobacco

Control Team for children across Northumberland to use.

The story, aimed at children aged between seven and nine years old, is designed to teach children how exposure to second-hand smoke can affect people’s health.

Domino, who lives with seven year old Lucy and her parents who are smokers, becomes unwell and lethargic. His concerned owner’s take him to the local vet who quickly realises Domino may have been exposed to second-hand smoke.

The book was written in conjunction with Eastlea Primary School in Cramlington and Cramlington-based vet Colin Skinner and can be used by schools across the county.

Health Improvement Practitioner Janette Wood said: “Domino’s story is a thoughtful approach for children to learn about a sensitive health topic.

“Focused discussion points guide the reader to engage children to consider the potential harmful effects smoking tobacco may have on the body. Domino’s story has a happy ending, and we hope raising awareness of this issue in a factual non-alarming way, will encourage more people to make their homes smoke-free for their children and pets.”

Cramlington-based vet Colin Skinner approached the Health Improvement Service following his increased awareness of animal’s exposure to second-hand smoke.

Colin Skinner said: “It’s good to use animals to get a message across to kids. That’s the way the kids will relate to the fact that second hand smoke affects their pets.  It’s such an issue because pets live indoors, especially budgies and hamsters who live in cages, and so can’t escape a smoky atmosphere which really affects their longevity.”

This learning resource is available from the Health Improvement Resource Centre at Epsom Drive, Ashington. The book is accompanied with a selection of props, including a medical kit, a vet’s coat and life-size soft toy replicas of the two dogs in the book.

Eastlea Primary School’s head teacher Emma Beeston said: “Pets are a great way to get the pupils’ attention because they love them. Lots of children at the school have pets. Domino’s story has come on a long way and we have props as well as the book so it really is sending an important message to the children in an interesting way.”

The children who have enjoyed Domino’s story are Lewis Lintern, 8; Jay Maudling, 8; Jorja Smailes, 9; Megan Douglas, 8; Jayden Herron, 8, and Katie Davidson.

Lewis said: “I think the dog is called Domino because he has black and white spots like a Domino. My mum and dad used to smoke but they gave up. “

Megan added: “I have a big dog, a German Shepherd. I like Domino and his friend Jake.”

For further information about the resource, contact Ray Wood (Information & Resource Centre Manager) 01670 840892.

NHS Stop Smoking Services in Northumberland and North Tyneside offer support, treatment and advice for people who want to stop smoking. The Northumberland NHS Stop Smoking Service is provided by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.  You can contact the Northumberland Stop Smoking Service on 01670 813 135