Second-hand smoke kills 600,000 a year - WHO study

Charlie - posted on 11/26/2010 ( 47 moms have responded )

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Around one in a hundred deaths worldwide is due to passive smoking, which kills an estimated 600,000 people a year, World Health Organisation (WHO) researchers said on Friday.

In the first study to assess the global impact of second-hand smoke, WHO experts found that children are more heavily exposed to second-hand smoke than any other age-group, and around 165,000 of them a year die because of it.

"Two-thirds of these deaths occur in Africa and south Asia," the researchers, led by Annette Pruss-Ustun of the WHO in Geneva, wrote in their study.

Children's exposure to second-hand smoke is most likely to happen at home, and the double blow of infectious diseases and tobacco "seems to be a deadly combination for children in these regions," they said.

Commenting on the findings in the Lancet journal, Heather Wipfli and Jonathan Samet from the University of Southern California said policymakers try to motivate families to stop smoking in the home.

"In some countries, smokefree homes are becoming the norm, but far from universally," they wrote.

The WHO researchers looked at data from 192 countries for their study. To get comprehensive data from all 192, they had to go back to 2004. They used mathematical modelling to estimate deaths and the number of years lost of life in good health.

Worldwide, 40 percent of children, 33 percent of non-smoking men and 35 percent non-smoking women were exposed to second-hand smoke in 2004, they found.

This exposure was estimated to have caused 379,000 deaths from heart disease, 165,000 from lower respiratory infections, 36,900 from asthma and 21,400 from lung cancer.

For the full impact of smoking, these deaths should be added to the estimated 5.1 million deaths a year attributable to active tobacco use, the researchers said.

CHILDREN

While deaths due to passive smoking in children were skewed towards poor and middle-income countries, deaths in adults were spread across countries at all income levels.

In Europe's high-income countries, only 71 child deaths occurred, while 35,388 deaths were in adults. Yet in the countries assessed in Africa, an estimated 43,375 deaths due to passive smoking were in children compared with 9,514 in adults.

Pruss-Ustun urged countries to enforce the WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which includes higher tobacco taxes, plain packaging and advertising bans, among other steps.

"Policy-makers should bear in mind that enforcing complete smoke-free laws will probably substantially reduce the number of deaths attributable to exposure to second-hand smoke within the first year of its implementation, with accompanying reduction in costs of illness in social and health systems," she wrote.

Only 7.4 percent of the world population currently lives in jurisdictions with comprehensive smoke-free laws, and those laws are not always robustly enforced.

In places where smoke-free rules are adhered to, research shows that exposure to second hand smoke in high-risk places like bars and restaurants can be cut by 90 percent, and in general by 60 percent, the researchers said.

Studies also show such laws help to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked by smokers and lead to higher success rates in those trying to quit.

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Should restrictions get tougher on smokers given the massive affect it still has on non smokers ? , Should law be passed to prevent smoking in homes where children are present ?


Personally I am stunned CHILDREN are dying from second hand smoke in Europe let alone the staggering numbers in other countries .

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Jenny - posted on 11/26/2010

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"That's a parents right to do what they want in their own home which they are paying for."



Why do Americans associate money with freedom? Just because you trade cash for goods doesn't change the rights of your child to clean air. If you buy a bride from overseas can you beat her cause she's yours?



Children are dying from this, what else to really need to know before something is done? 1 kid falls out of a highchair and we recall the whole model run but smoking has been left alone until recently.

Becky - posted on 11/29/2010

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Actually, in a population of several billion, or whatever our world population is now, 1 in 100 is pretty high! And anyway, the statistics shouldn't matter. Even if the numbers were much lower, would that make it acceptable? Even one death from entirely preventable causes is unacceptable.

Charlie - posted on 11/29/2010

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I don't think anyone implied it was the only thing that causes cancer I really think you down play the effects of cigarettes ,yes other things cause cancer but not at the rate that cigarettes cause cancer or kill , It is one of the biggest killers worldwide how is that even comparable to the death rate of "certain red food dyes" "residue left by rockets " " exhaust " ect .

The fact is smoking within the vicinity of a child has and does cause sickness and death can you please explain how one persons soda drinking in their home affects a child in the same way ? It doesn't .

Sorry I find pretty much all your comparisons far fetched and not remotely comparable .

Charlie - posted on 11/28/2010

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Emma my grandmother died of lung cancer and Emphysema with clear signs of passive smoke in her lungs , she never smoked a day in her life , how else would you explain a 10 year old with lung cancer or Emphysema constant cases of bronchitis , its more than a coincidence when coupled with the fact they inhale cigarette smoke daily .



They can tell by the levels of nicotine in the bloodstream and the higher levels of carcinogens introduced via second hand smoke both before death and after where they can also see the burnt out hairs that lie the lungs from inhaling smoke .

Jenny - posted on 11/27/2010

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"I smoke not in my home but honestly nobody's business even if I did. Oh and try and tell me I can't smoke in my car."



Is killing children socially acceptable because that is the cause of these new regulations. Kids are dying and experiencing a variety of other health ailments because their parents can't be bothered or are unware to take their harmful activities away from the kids. I don't understand any argument supporting smoking around kids for any reason. It's just not worth it. Shouldn't that be somebody's business?

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Mrs. - posted on 11/30/2010

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Not to mention pot is illegal and no one ever smokes that at home right?

Sherri - posted on 11/30/2010

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If you want to make smoking illegal in your home then you need to make cigarettes illegal period. As I said before I do smoke. I don't smoke in my home but honestly if smoking is not illegal then you should be able to smoke in your home. Do I agree with it no but it is your home and no one should have a say as to what you do in your home if cigarettes are legal.

[deleted account]

To me, it's kind of like letting your kid play in the street.
Not every kid who plays in the street is going to get hit by a car (in fact, very few do get hit), but the kid is more likely to get hit by a car if they are playing in the street.
Not every kid in a smoking home is going to have health issues associated with smoke, but they are more likely to have those issues than a kid in a smoke free home.
Likewise, a kid who never plays in the street could still get hit by a car when some random drunk plows through their yard, chances are slim, but it could, and has, happened.
A kid in a smoke free home could still get a smoke related affliction from industrial smoke, genetic disposition, or other second hand smoke. Again, chances are slim, but it has happened.

So why increase the odds of a kid getting sick? It would be like increasing the odds that they get hit by a car. I don't think making it illegal to smoke in a home would help for several reasons. One, kids spend a lot of time in homes where no children actually live--aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. They would still be exposed to smoke in those homes and in many cases kids spend more time there than in their own homes. Second, even if it was passively enforced, no one is going to be stupid enough to light up in their home with their kid present while a cop is in their house.

Instead, i think there should be more education, especially about 3rd hand smoke. I'm sorry, but if you go outside to smoke, then come in and pick up your kid wearing the same clothes you just smoked in, you might as well be blowing smoke right into your child's face.

Amanda - posted on 11/30/2010

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Wanda- not all smoke related deaths are cancer..... there are other respiratory complications that can and do lead to death

Stifler's - posted on 11/29/2010

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I don't really think 1 in 100 is a low statistic. Smoking causes serious respiratory illnesses more than cancer and I think that's been more than proven.

Charlie - posted on 11/29/2010

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Again I do not believe I ever said every kid in a smoking home would get sick or die , I do believe they have a high risk of getting sick and death is a possibility what is worrying is the number 165,000 a year IS a minority , what a massive number for a minority !

I agree that industry plays it's part but the debate isn't about industry it is about the effects of smoking on non smokers .

[deleted account]

Okay I see your point but to imply that every child in a smoking home is going to get sick or die is just as unrealistic.

1 in 100 deaths worldwide is a pretty low statistic and only 165,000 of 600,000 being children makes them the minority of the deaths. The article also states that most of the deaths are in combination with infectous diseases. The research also only went as far back as 2004 - that's a pretty limited sample.

I still think that cancer is more closely related to industry than it is smoking and no one is going to change my mind on that one.

[deleted account]

I am so sick of the smoking debate. With all the other crap that floats around in the air (exhaust, factory emmissions, the residue left by rocket launches etc. etc.), do you seriously think that the only reason people get cancer is because of smoking??? Okay, smoking mightn't be the best thing for you but neither is pop, aspertaime, certain red dyes etc. etc...and these things are found in our food in abundance. Don't even get me started on second, third and fouth hand smoke - nothing like a little fear mongering to keep the masses in line.

I would like to point out that I am a non-smoker. And, yes, I've lost family members to cancer, the youngest being 23, and they all came from non-smoking homes.

Interesting story. One day we were at Sick Kids Hospital. In the lobby the Canadian Cancer Society had a display set up and there were people manning it. On our way out, we passed the van and huddled all around, having a smoke break, were the people from the cancer society. It made me think.

Before you advocate banning smoking in homes (a law that would be impossible to inforce and open the floodgate for vindictive CPS complaints), ask yourself this: If they ban smoking, what's next? It could be your favorite vice that you don't think there's anything wrong with. Maybe your favorite cocktail or your can of diet Coke. If you give the government the power to do one thing be prepared for the ramifications.

Amanda - posted on 11/29/2010

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Desire- most of us who were subjected to constant 2nd hand smoke growing up AREN"T ok though! most of us who had smoker parents suffer from various respiratory issues, so i have to agree with Loureen, it's a total cop out to say that! your daughter may be "the picture of health" now, but things can show up later as a result of smoking during pregnancy. I was "the picture of health" as an infant.... until I was hospitalized with my first severe asthma attack, then I started getting pneumonia and bronchitis several times a year....I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to run, but am limited to running in warm weather only because of my lungs, and it pisses me off because it is due to a decision my mother and father made back in a time when i could not make a decision. so, you're right, children of smokers (who smoke around them or while pregnant) grow up just fine, no issues at all.

[deleted account]

I read somewhere that smoking in a car is worse than the home, Its a smaller space so it fills up with the smoke faster. Even though you are in your home more often, the children are exposed to more at one time in the car.

Mrs. - posted on 11/29/2010

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Just wanted to add, my mom is the head of a very well known lung health organization. She was telling me about something called third hand smoke. For those smokers who are saying, I go outside..the smoke on your clothing, in your hair, it actually harms people as well.



I hate smoking. I hate me and my child being forced to inhale someone's cancer stick on a corner waiting for a light. I hate that, my long term ex-bf has had to suffer with a lifetime of adult asthma/skin problems because his mother smoked in the house. However, I do not think we/or a government should not judge. Mostly, because where does it stop? Will we have the kiddy police telling us we can't eat a cookie cause it will make our kids obese? We can't let them watch Dora because TV is bad for them? I think it is a slippery slope.



I think the focus should be on educating smokers, making treatment effective/easy to access and getting their children educated too (nothing burns like having you kid tell you that you second hand smoke is hurting them). That's where the focus should be.



Let's try working this with a well placed helping hand instead of a sledgehammer.

Sarah - posted on 11/29/2010

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I smoke, although not in the house, and certainly not in the car.
I'm not sure that banning smoking in homes where there are children would work though. Surely it would almost impossible to enforce. Plus, it kind of feels like a infringement of privacy, I mean where would it stop? There's loads of things that can be detrimental to child's health, if you start regulating one thing, then you'd soon have to regulate everything.

I do wish that smokers were more sensible when it comes to their habit, ie. go outside for a smoke etc. but I just don't think that making it illegal to smoke in your own home would work.

Stifler's - posted on 11/29/2010

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I think there should be a law, if they can ban it in cars why not in houses? Aren't you in your house more often than your car?

Charlie - posted on 11/29/2010

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I'm not sure I understand , are you trying to justify smoking around children and other non smoking people by taking the minority group who were not affected by smoke and dissmissing the overwhelmingly staggering numbers of people who die every year from ciggerette smoke .

Sorry but what a cop out .

[deleted account]

Yeah...I dunno, I think smoking should be banned altogether, but I'm biased since I'm asthmatic and all that fun stuff...

[deleted account]

I was kind of wondering the same thing. Also recently I thought they released this study that said it was the carcinogens left behind by the smoke and not the smoke it self. Some nurse told me that but I don't know if it has any truth to it.

Emma - posted on 11/28/2010

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Please can someone tell me what test's they do to prove death from second hand smoke.
Im not defending smoking near kids,
I just want to know how they get there numbers, or are they just pulling them out of thin air ?

Shannon - posted on 11/27/2010

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Unfortunately I do not see how not smoking in a home with children could really be enforced. I used to be a smoker but quit the moment I suspected I was pregnant. At that point my body was no longer my own. I still do not smoke. I do not want my son exposed to the smoke and I also do not want him thinking smoking is ok because he sees me doing it. I can not stand to see pregnant women smoking, ppl smoking around children and babies, ppl smoking in homes with children and babies, ppl smoking in cars with children, or anywhere in general that involves children. I went to a trick or treat event for Halloween and ppl were in line around all these kids smoking. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut. Have a little respect. If you want to kill yourself fine but you have no right to expose my child to your dirty habit.

[deleted account]

it should be a law against smoking in the home. There is no real way to enforce it, but for the majority of the population, laws are followed because they dont want to get in trouble or they feel its for the best. The decent members of society would follow the law simply because it was law. The other small percentage, im not entirely sure what could be done...

[deleted account]

Loureen-I don't think CPS should have any right to investigate for smoking. They have way to much power as it is and not all social workers care about these families. I live in a place where CPS is very fucked up and when you see them at your door you wanna run out the back. CPS needs less power not more.

[deleted account]

I don't smoke in my house and don't smoke in the car when I have my kids with me. I have smoked in the car with them but only on road trips and even then we usually stop enough for bathroom breaks that it's very rare. I do know people that smoke in their home with their kids and it's not my right to say they can't but they do respect my kids when we go over there and try to remember to smoke outside and I have never asked them to they just do.

I think people should just do their best to keep it out of their kids faces, if a law needs to be passed to restrict that it shows just how selfish people are.

[deleted account]

My mother smoked in my home when i was being raised. Frequently i would go sit at the table because i became to like the smell of it. I started stealing her smokes because what was the big deal. If she smoked right beside me it shouldnt be too bad. I smoked for 11 years and quit shortly after finding out i was pregnant, i started again after having her, then quit again. Now i cant stand the smell and will never smoke again!. If my mother didnt smoke around me I would never have started yes it was my decision, but a 10 year old isn't really that informed about if its right. I shouldnt have been exposed to it, obviously i developed an addiction to second hand smoke before i started smoking.

[deleted account]

Oh i defiantly think that law should be passed! I hate when i go to peoples houses with my daughter and they just light up a smoke around her! I went to my aunts house i figured they wouldn't smoke because i had at the time a 6 week old there! they lit one, i got up and left!

Amanda - posted on 11/27/2010

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"I smoke not in my home but honestly nobody's business even if I did. Oh and try and tell me I can't smoke in my car."

Sherri- if your kids are in the car then it becomes thier business as well, they can't just walk away from the smoke same with the home. you wouldn't leave a loaded gun laying around the house for your kids to play with, gambeling with thier life, so why subject them to second hand smoke?
it's one thing to ruin your own lungs but it should be illegal to compromise somebody elses! it's illegal to knowingly spread HIV, to poison someone, to injur someone... well, your cigarette smoke can poison and injur someone other than yourself if you don't take the caution to not ecxpose others.
and let me tell you i'ma be flippin' pissed if end up with lung cancer because of all the years my parents subjected me to 2nd hand smoke!

Jenny - posted on 11/27/2010

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It would end up being a passive enforcement. If they were at your home for something unrelated they would give you a ticket kind of thing. That is how the BC law for not smoking in vehicles with minors works too. They don't have dedicated officers looking for smokers or anything. The idea is that the law will make it socially unacceptable and parents will choose to smoke outside as you ladies have.

Sherri - posted on 11/27/2010

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NO how in heavens name are you EVER going to enforce such a thing. Sorry but cigarettes are NOT illegal someone has the right to smoke in there own home if they so choose. Good god we can not regulate ever small little thing in this world.

Loureen heck NO once again smoking is NOT illegal so how can it become illegal in your home??

I smoke not in my home but honestly nobody's business even if I did. Oh and try and tell me I can't smoke in my car.

Becky - posted on 11/26/2010

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And what's that phrase, "Your rights end where mine begin." A parent does not have the right to do something that harms their child, whether they are in their own home or not. That's like saying a parent has the right to beat the shit out of their kid, as long as they do it in their own home that they paid for.

Becky - posted on 11/26/2010

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I was going to say no, not because I don't think it should be illegal, just because I didn't see how it would be enforcable. But, you can have your children removed from your care for being intoxicated or abusing drugs while you're caring for them, so why not for smoking? The research is very clear that you are putting their health at risk if you smoke around them, so I think it should meet the criteria for abuse or neglect.

Charlie - posted on 11/26/2010

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What If it was a viable reason to cause investigation by CPS/ DOCS ?

Amanda - posted on 11/26/2010

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I don't think the gov't in the US will ever actually be able to stop or ban smoking in homes. That's a parents right to do what they want in their own home which they are paying for. The gov't can do all the necessary things like banning it in bars, resturants and any other public place but as far as homes go it's not going to happen. I'm a smoker but I smoke outside and never in my car. I do agree with the research about cigarette smoking but to me it's my break away from my household of kids Yes my kids were my choice and so are my cigarettes. I'll always talk about quitting but only when I'm ready to. So I guess that's my opinion!

Charlie - posted on 11/26/2010

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Australia has similar laws but what about laws about smoking in homes of where children are present ?

[deleted account]

Canada is like, ahead for the laws on homeschooling, and on smoking. Your not even aloud to smoke on certain public streets here. You can get a fine if your caught smoking with a minor in the car. You cant smoke within 50ft of entrances to stores either. The only one is smoking in the home, no law for that. I love Canada(not saying any other country is worse or better, its just cool we got the laws already :D)

Amanda - posted on 11/26/2010

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yes, laws should be passed to prevent smoking in houses with children and also in cars with children. I also think it should be banned within 50 feet of a building especially any entrance or exit. i was appalled at people in NYC walking down the sidewalk blowing smoke right in other peoples faces, they did so right at women carrying babies in carriers even! there should be laws in place to protect people from that! i personally grew up in a smoking household and it made me miserable!!!! i constantly had pneumonia and bronchitis was hospitalized for respiratory issues at least twice a year and yet my parents still sat there and smoked in front of me, we still sat in the smoking section at restaraunts, and they still smoked in the car (they didn't beleive it was that bad) oddly enough (sarcasm) once i moved out of the house i could breath!!!!! and havent had pneumonia, bronchitis, or unmanageable respiratory issues since!
the way i see it, i choose not to smoke so i avoid it. A young child cannot make the choice and in some cases (home) cannot avoid it and its not right that thier life is at risk because of poor judgement of thier parents/an adult

Jenny - posted on 11/26/2010

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Yes yes yes! I do not support banning ANY substances for consenting adults. I do support restricting where it can be used though. It's a no brainer to me that smoking should be banned around kids. We have a law in BC that forbids smoking in cars with minors but not in homes, it doesn't make sense.

My mother smoked heavily around my brother and myself and both of us have a very limited sense of smell and other respiratory issues. My brother can't smell a pile of fresh dog poo right beside him. Ok, that might be a bad example but you get the point that second hand smoke is bad.

Lacye - posted on 11/26/2010

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There is a danger for kids when it comes to smoking. That is why I go outside! :D

[deleted account]

I'm stunned by this too. I knew second hand smoke wasn't good for children, but I never knew it was such a serious problem.



The trouble is that people still don't believe the research. I've never allowed smoking in our house or car and my smoking husband has always been OK with that, but even he thinks the research is nonsense and he only smokes outside to avoid being nagged by me.



I'm not sure restrictions can be enforced unless cameras are placed in every home with children. Obviously this isn't going to happen.

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