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Passive Smoking

Smoking2-300x200One of the most under-reported phenomena in modern-day life is passive smoking.

When someone lights up a cigarette, pipe or cigar near you they begin to contaminate your air space with their second-hand smoke. Smokers of course never want to talk about passive smoking.

The media is hot to jump on subjects like inner-city air pollution, sand storms dumping sand and ruining the paintwork of your car, pollutants escaping from chemical factories, but they are very reticent in offending smokers by reporting passive smoking.

In 2005 a British Medical Journal study reported that 11,000 people a year were dying in the UK from passive smoking, and more than 600 of those were in the workplace. The study was independently compiled by the University of Queensland Australia.

Just imaging for one moment that all of those 11,000 had never ever smoked at all in their lives, yet their fate was sealed simply by breathing in the second-hand smoke from other people’s smoking habits.

2,700 of those people were between the ages of 20 to 65, 8000 people who were over 65, and 617 in the workplace with more than 57 who worked in hospitality including restaurants and bars.

Many of those people were dying years after their exposure to passive smoking as if they had had a time bomb slipped into their pockets, without them knowing about it.

In 2010 a World Health Organization (WHO) study carried out in 192 countries reported that globally more than 600,000 people a year die of passive smoking. Passive smoking has been linked to heart disease, respiratory illness and lung cancer.

Children were seen as being at particularly high risk because they had no control of over their environments so they may have been be confined in a house or apartment where their parents were smoking, unable to escape.

There is an increase in the risk of cot deaths (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), pneumonia, inner ear infections and asthma in children whose parents smoke.

The WHO expressed particular concern about 165,000 children in Africa and South East Asia who die every year where there is no education about dangers of smoking, never mind passive smoking.

In 2004 as many as 40% of children, 33% of non-smoking men and 35% of non-smoking women were exposed to passive smoking.

This study, of course, only covers the parts of the world where such figures can be recorded. In many parts of the world where poverty exists there is no structure to record this kind of medical information so the total figure may be well in excess of one million people a year dying from passive smoking.

Since it is estimated that 1.2 billion people in the world smoke then it does not stretch the imagination very far to see how many people are exposed to passive smoking on a daily basis. This, of course, may be your child, brother, mother, aunty or friend who may die from smoking-related diseases without ever having smoked at one single cigarette.

Many places in the world now are banning smoking in restaurants, bars, hotels, nightclubs, office blocks, apartment blocks, the workplace, municipal buildings and even in some places the spaces outside cafés. Certainly you cannot get on an aeroplane or bus and smoke anymore.

In some countries it is against the law to smoke while in the car with a child. It is increasing harder for smokers to smoke in public because of the dangers that passive smoking to other people’s health.

In America smokers are now beginning to be sued by non-smokers for millions of dollars for the contamination they cause to buildings, apartments and personal space areas by smoking in their own apartments.

Freedom of choice is one thing, but second-hand passive smoke is pernicious. It spreads and kills.


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