Exposure to secondhand smoke must be stopped

Passive smoking causes more than 600,000 deaths per year all around the world. Children are the most affected by the secondhand smoke, and more than 165,000 of them die, as a result of this exposure.

Secondhand smoke must be stopped

The World Health Organisation (WHO) conducted a study basing on the 2004 data; the figures demonstrated that smoking in that year killed approximately six million people.

It was estimated that secondhand smoke is the cause of 379,000 deaths from heart disease, 165,000 from respiratory infections, 36,900 from asthma and 21,400 from lung cancer.

“Second hand smoke is still one of the major air pollutants all over the world,” stated, Dr. Annette Pruss-Ustun, from the WHO.

Approximately 40% of children, 35% of women and 33% of men are constantly exposed to second hand smoke at their homes.

“We have calculated that secondhand smoke lead to 603,000 deaths all around the world in 2004, which corresponds to 1% of all deaths. These figures should be summarized with the 5.1million deaths related to active smoking in order to obtain the result of both passive and active smoking. So, we can state that smoking caused more than 5.7million deaths every year in 2004,” explained Dr. Pruss-Ustun.

These findings were obtained after examining figures from disease follow-up studies and smoking surveys. They demonstrated that chest infections in children younger than five years, heart disease in adults and asthma in both adults and children are all the result of exposure to secondhand smoke.

The majority of deaths among children took place in poor countries, while in richer ones the number of adult deaths was higher.

For instance in Africa more than 43,375 children died from secondhand smoke and only 9,514 of adults, these are too high figures if comparing with 71 child deaths and 35,388 deaths among adults in more developed European countries.

Children are more exposed to second hand smoke, because they can’t avoid the main source of exposure and namely their relatives who smoke indoors.

Government officials should understand that adopting a complete smoke-free law will greatly lower the number of deaths related to exposure to secondhand smoke, already within the first year of its introduction. And the least but not the last will lead to reduction in costs of illness in social and health systems.

Researchers found out that in places were smoking was prohibited, exposure to secondhand smoke was reduced by 90%.

“Exposing other people to smoke has very bad consequences. And this study is an evident proof that we were right to implement a ban on smoking in public places in our country,” stated, Betty McBride, from the British Heart Foundation.

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