Study: Secondhand Smoke Greatest Source of Indoor Air Pollution in Beijing
China needs strong smoke-free regulations
Posted by: Editor | Sep 28, 2012
Secondhand smoke is the greatest source of indoor air pollution in China, according to a new study by a civil environmental group.
The study analyzed air quality in 43 restaurants, bars and Internet cafes over a six-month period and found that small particles from tobacco smoke made up 90 percent of the air pollutants. The concentration of particulate air pollution was significantly greater than standards recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). On average, pollution levels were 14 times greater than WHO-recommended levels in restaurants, 19 times greater in bars and 10 times greater in Internet cafes.
The study underscores how pervasive smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are in China. About 300,000 million Chinese smoke, and seven out of 10 non-smoking adults report exposure to secondhand smoke in a typical week. Each year, smoking-related diseases kill about one million Chinese, and secondhand smoke kills another 100,000.
China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of tobacco, but lacks effective measures to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. The new study highlights China’s critical need to strengthen tobacco control measures, including implementing 100 percent smoke-free regulations, to reduce tobacco’s deadly toll.
Secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including at least 69 known carcinogens, and is a proven cause of lung cancer, heart disease and other serious health problems. There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke, which causes premature death and disease in non-smokers.
In response to results of the study, the environmental group that conducted it – Daerwen Nature Quest Agency – plans to launch a smart phone application to help the public locate smoke-free restaurants throughout Beijing.