How many are exposed to tobacco smoke pollution?
Worldwide, people from all countries and cultures are exposed to
tobacco smoke pollution, also known as second-hand smoke (SHS) and
environmental tobacco smoke (ETS).
Exposure occurs at home, in the workplace, public transport,
restaurants, bars, etc. It is estimated that over 50% of children
worldwide are exposed to tobacco smoke pollution in their homes
(International Consultation on Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Child
What are the effects of tobacco smoke pollution on the health of
Carcinogenic effects of tobacco smoke pollution
In June 2002, a scientific working group of 29 experts from 12
countries reviewed all significant published evidence related to tobacco
smoking and cancer, both active and involuntary. Its conclusions
confirmed the cancer-causing effects of active smoking. It also
concluded its evaluation of the carcinogenic risks associated with
involuntary smoking and classified second-hand smoke as carcinogenic to
There is clear scientific evidence of an increased risk of lung
cancer in non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke pollution. This increased
risk is estimated at 20% in women and 30% in men who live with a
smoker.2 Similarly, it has been shown that non-smokers exposed to
tobacco smoke pollution in the workplace have a 16 to 19% increased risk
of developing lung cancer.3 The risk of presenting lung cancer increases
with the degree of exposure.
The Californian Environmental Protection Agency (Cal EPA) estimates
that tobacco smoke pollution causes 3000 deaths each year due to lung
cancer in non-smokers. Other health effects of tobacco smoke pollution.
It has also been shown that non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke
pollution have a 25% to 35% increased risk of suffering acute coronary
diseases. 4Chronic respiratory conditions are also more frequent in
non-smokers exposed to tobacco smoke pollution.5 There is evidence
linking tobacco smoke pollution to other adverse effects in adults
including exacerbation of asthma and reduced lung function. What are the
effects of tobacco smoke pollution on children's health?
Small children whose parents smoke at home have an increased risk of
suffering lower tract respiratory infections and otitis media. Tobacco
smoke pollution has also been linked to an increase in the number and
severity of asthma episodes in asthmatic children. There is also
evidence that tobacco smoke pollution increases the risk of Sudden
Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
How to protect the passive smoker?
Recognize that everyone has the right to breathe air not contaminated
with tobacco smoke.
Recognize that all workers have the right to work in places where
they are not exposed to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke pollution.
Increase consciousness that smoking harms not only the person who
smokes but also those around him/her.