Second-hand smoke by numbers

Written by Wilma Stassen

More than a third of South Africans could be exposed to dangerous levels of second-hand smoke, according to a recent study. Health-e presents this growing threat in numbers.

600,000 – The number of people who die annually from second-hand smoke. In adults, second-hand smoke causes serious cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, including coronary heart disease and lung cancer. In pregnant women, it causes low birth weight.

> 4000 – The number of chemicals contained in tobacco smoke, at least 250 of which are known to be harmful and more than 50 are known to cause cancer.

40 percent – The amount of children exposed to second-hand smoke at home. In infants, second-hand smoke exposure can cause sudden death.

1.5x – The increased likelihood that children exposed to second-hand smoke at home will become smokers.

About 1 in 3 – The number of deaths attributable to second-hand smoke that occur in children.

10 percent – The percentage of economic costs, such as lost wages and increased medical bills, attributable to second-hand smoke.

0 – The amount of smoke in the air needed to truly protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke can spread from a smoking area to a non-smoking area, even if the doors between the two areas are closed and ventilation is provided.

Source: The World Health Organisation


About the author

Wilma Stassen

Wilma Stassen is a reporter at Health-e News Service. She focuses on non-communicable diseases. Follow her on Twitter @Lawim

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