Air Quality News: Secondhand Smoke

Published last Friday in the British Medical Journal Lancet, scientists revealed that more than 600,000 people are killed by secondhand smoke per year worldwide (approximately 603,000). Led by the World Health Organization’s Tobacco-Free Initiative and funded by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare and Bloomberg Philanthropies, this study shines light on the worldwide impact of secondhand smoking.

40% of children, 33% of male non-smokers, and 35% of female non-smokers were found to regularly breathe in secondhand smoke indoors, according to data analyzed from 2004 across 192 countries.

Aside from the millions of deaths caused directly from smoking, deaths caused by secondhand smoke account for approximately 1% of the world’s deaths per year and are broken down into the following categories in this study:

379,000 deaths from ischaemic heart disease
165,000 deaths from lower respiratory disease
36,900 deaths from asthma
21,400 deaths from lung cancer
per year.

An estimated 165,000 of these deaths are among children under the age of 5. This age group is more exposed to secondhand smoke compared with others because of their inability to avoid it; close relatives and parents are usually the ones exposing these children. This study notes that premature death because of secondhand smoke in this age group is especially prevalent in Southeast Asia and Africa because of complications with widespread infectious diseases.

The research team’s interpretation summary of this article is the following:

“These estimates of worldwide burden of disease attributable to second-hand smoke suggest that substantial health gains could be made by extending effective public health and clinical interventions to reduce passive smoking worldwide.”

Be an advocate for improved indoor air quality. Sentry Air Systems, Inc. is proud to be a Tobacco-Free Workplace.

For more information and details on this study, visit the following sites:

For the original article, click here. (“Worldwide burden of disease from exposure to second-hand smoke: a retrospective analysis of data from 192 countries”) **All quotes, statistics and general information provided in this blog entry can be found in this article**

For information on this study from the World Health Organization, click here.

World Health Organization: Tobacco Free Initiative