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Secondhand smoke kills 600,000 worldwide annually
November 26th, 2010
09:08 AM ET

Secondhand smoke kills 600,000 worldwide annually

1 in 100 people around the world die from secondhand smoke each year, a new study reveals, and nearly two-thirds of the deaths occur in children.

Health officials have known that more than 1 billion people around the world smoke and 5 million people die each year from tobacco-related illness, according to the World Health Organization.  That's about one person dying every six seconds.

But just how many people are sickened by secondhand smoke has been less clear, which led researchers to try to investigate how big the problem is. Based on 2004 data gathered from 192 countries, researchers estimate "as many as 40 percent of children, 35 percent of women, and 33 percent of men are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke indoors," according to a WHO study published in the British medical journal The Lancet.

"Tobacco use is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced," says the WHO.  More than 80 percent of the more than 1 billion smokers worldwide live in low- and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest. The study authors estimate that 165,000 children under the age of 5 die each year from lower respiratory infections caused by second-hand smoke – and most of these deaths occur in Africa and south Asia.

Just two months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  released a report that found more than half of children in the United States, between ages 3 and 11 show signs in their blood of exposure to secondhand smoke.  Previous studies have found that even extremely low levels of exposure to cigarette smoke produced detectable abnormal genetic activity in these cells.

The more than 1 billion smokers are exposing billions of non-smokers to one of the top indoor pollutants according to the WHO. Researchers believe more needs to be done to create complete smoke-free indoor environments at work, in public places and on public transportation. Jonathan Samet and Heather Wipfli, two leading public health experts from the University of Southern California say their research from 31 countries found  that 88 percent of parents who smoked did so at home and that over 80 percent smoked near their children. In an accompanying commentary, they emphasize the need for smoke-free homes, which can help  lower the number of people sickened and dying from someone else's smoke.

Wipfli and Samet say educating and empowering women can make a big difference is protecting children and non-smoking adults from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke. "Few sources of indoor air pollution can be completely eliminated.   However, smoking indoors can be eliminated," they say.


soundoff (429 Responses)
  1. ggibson

    In a world where chemicals from 1000s of sources that are far more dangerous than burning the tobacco plant are being pumped into our air we breath every single day we see these low brow self righteous know it alls willing to violate peoples liberties because their poor little noses dont like the smell. Some of us dont like the chemical smells of your perfumes either but we mind our own business.

    No one lives forever. Freedom means shrugging off things you dont like. If you dont like freedom and want to live forever just shut yourselves into a room in your house and wear plastics gloves every day of your life... that should make you live for at least 1000 years.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • millie fink

      Some of us dont like the chemical smells of your perfumes either but we mind our own business.

      Nice false equivalence there.

      Perfume smells don't kill; second-hand-smoke smells do.

      Freedom means shrugging off things you dont like.

      But you see, what I want to be FREE of is the death-inducing effects of someone else's pathetic addiction.

      When others insist on the "freedom" to send smoke into my lungs, they're infringing on MY freedom to breathe cleaner air, and to avoid the possibility of a shortened life.

      November 26, 2010 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • Inkt1

      Your right to smoke is more important than my right to health? Really? If you want to smoke, fine. But do it outside and away from me. If you make that choice for yourself I do NOT judge you for that. But in an enclosed space you won't smoke around me. I don't have as much a choice with the 1000's of chemicals that exist in the air. I'll do what I can to change what I'm able to, though.

      November 26, 2010 at 11:48 | Report abuse |
    • Inkt1

      Can't help it- that "poor little noses" comment got to me. The perfume is not a fair comparison. We're not talking about an offensive smell. The only way for you to understand the smell is if I took a s@#t in a bucket, vomited on top of that and then made you wear it like a feeding horse. It's not just an unpleasant odor. It LITERALLY TURNS MY STOMACH. I have to try not to wretch in the face of smokers at their disgusting breath. I've smelled some perfumes that have taken my breath away but you really don't know what you're talking about. And, like I said-I smoked for years and apologized to my wife after experiencing that after quitting. I personally think the odor may be worse for ex-smokers than it is for those who have never smoked.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:16 | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous Alcoholic

      To InkT1: you're an idiot. So you think that because you don't drink often, that throws Curmudgeon theory out the window? If you didn't realize, you are one person, out of many who posted here. So therefore, I have come to the conclusion that you're an idiot. Millie Fink, I have a strong negative opinion about smoking cigarettes. I hate the smell, taste, and the fact that it does nothing for you, in terms of getting a high. However, to say that ALL smokers IMPOSE their smoke onto other people is an overstatement. Some of them do, the idiots that have no regard and just start smoking next to a group of people. However there are considerate people who choose to smoke away from others, for example by going in a kiosk or across the street or whatever. Thank god for the law that prohibits smoking indoors.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • millie fink

      However, to say that ALL smokers IMPOSE their smoke onto other people is an overstatement. Some of them do, the idiots that have no regard and just start smoking next to a group of people. However there are considerate people who choose to smoke away from others, for example by going in a kiosk or across the street or whatever. Thank god for the law that prohibits smoking indoors.

      You're flailing away at a strawman here. Neither I nor anyone else that I'm reading here has said that smokers shouldn't be free to destroy themselves in places where they're not imposing early deaths on others. I'm also not claiming that all smokers impose secondhand smokers on others; Isadore is one obvious example of someone who apparently keeps her poisonous smoke to herself, and I have no doubt that some others smokers do that too.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse |
    • millie fink

      Oops–

      I'm also not claiming that all smokers impose secondhand SMOKE on others;

      November 26, 2010 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • Inkt1

      @ anonymous- it appears as though you have a problem with reading comprehension. As a result I have a difficult time valuing your opinion of me.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • cliff

      While I am not a smoker I can say they don't bother me.
      People like Millie would complain about anything. It's the liberal way.
      I think we should divide American along the Mississippi. Send all the tree-hugging planet savers west and give the real America to the remainder. Those are the folks who mind their own business. If they don't like being around something they leave. Seems easy enough to do. My neighbor smoking or drinking, etc., won't bother me. I also won't be hearing the little circle clubs with their anti-everything posters holding hands and singing KUMBAYA!

      November 26, 2010 at 23:52 | Report abuse |
  2. Larry

    The first sentence is such a BS that the rest of the article has no credibility whatsoever.
    And that is a shame because there really is a problem.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Garret

    We have a basic math problem here. If 600 thousand people die from second hand smoke annually from a world population of 6 billion, thats one person per 10 thousand not 1 per hundred. That's the problem with well-intentioned crusades – they figure that because their motives are good any kind of bizarre overstatement of the problem is therefore justified.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Iris

    I am an 80 year old woman who has never smoked and now am suffering with COPD caused by secondhand smoke from my smokiing husband. I cannot walk across a room without severe breathing problems. My husband died from his COPD. I detest snmoking.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • millie fink

      Oh Iris, that's so, so unfair to you. I hope you can somehow recover.

      What a shame that smokers and the inane "freedom" advocates will ignore the tragic reality of testimony like yours.

      November 26, 2010 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
  5. SAM

    Its all a Lie Perputrated by the ANTI SMokers who are by the WAY DRUNKS who donate to the $235 Billion a year that Alcohol cost society just for its USE. LOOK IT UP if you dont beleive me...Secondhand Smoke is a LIE PERIOD

    November 26, 2010 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Seabass1

      SAM , so inhaling burnt leaves that contain carcinogens are good for you ? The burnt leaves thing is a good indicator that it's not good , 85 percent of all people who die in a fire , die from smoke inhilation . So....you are saying smoking is good for you ? it gives you vitamins and nutrients you need to survive ? Please keep on talking and showing your intelligence . Smoking is good , clean air is bad . Thank you for clearing this up .

      November 26, 2010 at 17:08 | Report abuse |
  6. Marion

    Why can't you non-smokers differentiate between smokers and second hand smoke? No smoker is in 'denial" that it is harmful to themselves. But it is utter nonsense that any study can determine how many deaths are due to SECOND HAND SMOKE!! It is a fact that millions die of lung cancer that is NOT RELATED TO SMOKING AT ALL. So all these studies consider is that someone who has lung cancer (or heart disease), who was somewhat exposed to second hand smoke, that it MUST HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY SECOND HAND SMOKE. Impossible to determine!!

    November 26, 2010 at 11:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Grant Meisenholder

    Did anyone actually read the research? Probably would be helpful in understanding exactly what the science is behind the story. Oh, I forgot. We're in the US, which has been becoming progressively less science-literate since the '70s. Not exciting enough to hold our interest. More interesting to follow our celebrities' foibles.

    If you smoke, think of this: every time you take a drag, you're telling your friends and loved ones that you want them to watch you die a slow, painful death, gasping for breath, hooked up to an oxygen tank. Just ask the "Marlboro Man".

    I know this because my mom and great grandfather died exactly that way.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Mike

    Remember folks....this is from the same publication that will have you believe that more than 1 trillion Iraqi's have been killed sicne the war started.

    They are no longer a serious medical journal, they are a left wing propaganda machine trying to use pseudo sciience to justify liberal initiatives.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • millie fink

      Yep, make one mistake and then everything else you have to say is instantly invalid.

      Good thing Mike has never made a mistake.

      Oh wait, he has?

      Sorry Mike–your argument has been rendered invalid!

      November 26, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse |
  9. Tom

    How can a responsible news organization post something like this, with a headline like this – when I read the article there was no indication of any linkage whatsoever. Just one fact stated, then a completely unrelated fact stated, and then somehow, presto, second-hand smoke kills 600,000 a year. Chomsky said the attack on smokers is actually a veiled attack on the lower class – similar to what happened with black people and pot in the 30s an 40s.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Curmudgeon

    I am an ex-smoker and I have COPD, an illness that I would not wish upon anyone. I, however, will probably not die of COPD. I am far more likely to die as the result of an automobile accident (I have a very powerful hot-hatch that I drive the wheels off), metastasized prostate cancer (73 years old, family history of prostate cancer), heart failure (congenital heart condition not caused by smoke).

    As to the likelihood that second-hand smoke from cigarettes is DIRECTLY and SOLELY responsible for 600,000 deaths per year, I think that a figure such as this could not be supported by experiment. I do agree that air pollution (which includes second-hand cigarette smoke) probably contributes to respiratory ailments that may lead to death. In my case, exposure to zinc and cadmium fumes (I was a welder for several years), exposure to beryllium oxide and U-235/U238 (I worked in the nuclear weapons field for 10 years), exposure to asbestos (truck brake repair while I was a mechanic), exposure to fiberglass insulation particles (four summers of construction work insulating attics during high school) could equally well be the root cause of my COPD.

    Deaths due to alcohol related accidents (many of which involve innocent folks who were killed by drunk drivers) far outpace the '600,000 second-hand smoke' deaths. Moreover the monetary cost of alcohol abuse in our society overwhelmingly exceeds costs associated with the smoking habit. Some estimate that the of the cost of just the lost time on the job due to chronic alcohol use is 100 billion dollars per year in the US alone.

    I don't preach to other smokers because I know how difficult it is to quit nor do I preach to alcoholics because several in my family fall into that category and I have seen the havoc it wreaks upon them and their family and friends. But, I am willing to bet that the majority of the rabid anti-smokers who have posted here today also drink and furthermore, at least half of them have driven while drunk. Cast ye not the first stone.

    November 26, 2010 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • millie fink

      I am willing to bet that the majority of the rabid anti-smokers who have posted here today also drink and furthermore, at least half of them have driven while drunk. Cast ye not the first stone.

      But the problem here is not that they smoke. It's that they IMPOSE their smoke, and its deleterious effects, on other people.

      Sorry Curmedgeon, but your argument has been rendered invalid!

      (Or at least, in this context, irrelevant.)

      November 26, 2010 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • Inkt1

      If I am included in the category of "rabid antismoker" I'd like to state, for the record, that I don't drink that often at all. One beer here and there. I purchased a six-pack two months ago and still have three beers in my fridge. And I don't drive while impaired. I was almost killed by a drunk driver in 2006. So there goes that theory.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:06 | Report abuse |
    • Curmudgeon

      @milly fink And I suppose that drunk drivers don't 'impose their superior driving ability (read wreak carnage on others)?'

      Get a life–We can PROVE that drunk drivers cause needless deaths and injuries, the evidence is strewn all over the roadway and stored within their blood. You cannot prove that second hand smoke directly and solely cause anyone to die.

      November 26, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse |
    • millie fink

      @milly fink And I suppose that drunk drivers don't 'impose their superior driving ability (read wreak carnage on others)?'

      No, they do. But no one's saying drunk people shouldn't drive. OTOH, many are saying that smokers should be allowed to smoke around other people.

      Get a life–We can PROVE that drunk drivers cause needless deaths and injuries, the evidence is strewn all over the roadway and stored within their blood. You cannot prove that second hand smoke directly and solely cause anyone to die.

      Solely? No, I'll grant you that. But just for starters, the higher incidences and rates of lung diseases among people who do not smoke, but do spend a lot of time around smokers, is evidence enough for me.

      November 26, 2010 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  11. clark

    1 in 100 would come out to 60,000,000 deaths a year by there own estimate of 600,000,the figure would be closer to 1 in 6500

    November 26, 2010 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Kaori

    @G
    "Just because a study goes against your preconceived notions about what is true or not doesn't mean that it is false."

    Nor does affirmation without proof. Ask your doctor for the scientific data which *proved to him* that second hand smoke is dangerous and he will give you a flyer affirming it to be dangerous. Point out the fact that the info provided is not scientific and press him for *the scientific data which convinced him* and he will be visibly perturbed that you dared to question him. Why? Because he doesn't have proof, but he does have a prescription for Chantix for you. Things the make you go Hmm...

    Sadly, medical science is no longer a science but a business. It's all about money.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kidkoala

      I don't understand how recommending people to stop smoking somehow equates to profit. If it was about the money, doctors will tell clients to continue smoking. More health problems, more money.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:23 | Report abuse |
    • Jimboe

      not true, longer life, more health problems. non-smokers take much longer to die, where smokers typically die within months of finding out they have lung cancer = profit.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
  13. AM

    So, 600,000 die yearly from second hand smoke, not just first hand.

    How many people die from marijuana again?

    Oh wait, 0. My bad.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. veronica45

    I have had many loved ones who never smoked but were exposed. They all died from cancer related to secondhand smoke. Even if the numbers aren't quite right in most eyes, the fact is smoking kills.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • UNICORN

      Smoking does kill,slowly.So what would happen if no one smoked? What if everybody ate health food? What if all those people lived 10 years longer...................think about it in real terms.

      November 26, 2010 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
  15. isadore

    You know what really stinks? Perfume and cologne! ugh. I am so offended by anyone who stinks of perfume or cologne. Anyone who wears perfume or cologne must be horrible people to subject innocent passers to their chemical stench. I hate them all. They are so inconsiderate. They should change their behavior of wearing that s#@t , because I find it offensive. If I don't like it....BAN IT. I refuse to believe I have to share this planet with anyone else.... 🙂

    November 26, 2010 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Inkt1

      The perfume is not a fair comparison. We're not talking about an offensive smell. The only way for you to understand the smell is if I took a s@#t in a bucket, vomited on top of that and then made you wear it like a feeding horse. It's not just an unpleasant odor. It LITERALLY TURNS MY STOMACH. I have to try not to wretch in the face of smokers at their disgusting breath. I've smelled some perfumes that have taken my breath away but you really don't know what you're talking about. And, like I said-I smoked for years and apologized to my wife after experiencing that after quitting. I personally think the odor may be worse for ex-smokers than it is for those who have never smoked.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:25 | Report abuse |
    • millie fink

      I don't think anyone here is saying that smoking should be banned because it stinks. The point is that imposing health risks on others via secondhand smoke should be banned, because it's an imposition on the health and freedom of others.

      So the stench of smoking, and the obliviousness of smokers to that stench, is a separate issue. I don't think anything should be banned simply because it stinks, but I do think that those who don't even realize how bad their stink is should be made aware of that. Cuz who knows, they might just be polite enough to curtail the stench that they're imposing on others.

      Sorry, but your logic is invalid.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse |
    • jorge washinson

      Yeh, when you get home with that perfume smell on you that might kill you too.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • Jimboe

      I agree, especially those oils that women are wearing lately, they smell like oniony armpits with the scent of glade air freshener over the top. They think they smell pretty, and I'm gagging right behind them.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
  16. Smoker

    http://www.forces.org/evidence/hamilton/other/oldest.htm This research shows that the oldest people currently living are either currently smokers, or smoked most of their lives.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • kidkoala

      The exception is not the rule.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • Kaori

      My grandparents (both smokers) are in their late 70s. Aside from cronic arthritis they are both healthy. My mother on the other hand (also a smoker) died of cancer. She was a nuclear medical technician by the way.

      November 26, 2010 at 13:12 | Report abuse |
    • onmiwei

      My grandma has smoked for well over 65 years. In fact a doctor told her to start smoking to lose 20-30 lbs. Yes, she is very healthy and up until she was 89 she worked everyday on her 80 acre farm milking cows, collecting egs, ect. My other grandma died from smoking related issues at the age of 65 when she started smoking in her mid 20's. SHe had been ill for 20 years. Just as some people can be just fine with second hand smoke while others like myself get sick from it. And no mine isn't other air pollutants like another person said. I moved every 1-2 years as a child, both large cities and small towns. THe only constant was my smoking father. He quit I got better.

      November 26, 2010 at 13:35 | Report abuse |
    • Seabass1

      So inhaling burnt leaves that are laced with carcinogens are good for you ? Right ? Good , now thats cleard up !!!!

      November 26, 2010 at 16:41 | Report abuse |
    • cmkc

      If you choose to believe this, then believe that they are likely NOT smoking the U.S.cigarette company's chemical, carcinogen, preservative-laden poison, but likely just straight tobacco.

      November 28, 2010 at 11:07 | Report abuse |
  17. lm

    could it be that you die when the "time" is right? i believe when it's "time", NO ONE IS GOING TO SAVE YOU!!

    November 26, 2010 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Jimboe

    I just spent Thanksgiving with my extended family where most of the adults smoke cigarettes. I left immediately after dinner and had to tell my parents I would not be staying. It saddens me to have to do this, but I can't be around something that literally makes me ill for days afterwards. I have a massive headache right now, a day later.

    I'm happy to see most of the young people in my family have never started, but they are still subjected to this day after day. People didn't know the dangers 25 years ago, but now they do and they should respect other people's lives. Your addiction isn't worth somebody else's health.

    Get over yourselves and do the right thing, either quit, or do not subject others to second hand smoke.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jimboe

      Also, when I get home, I strip naked by the washer and treat everything as though it is contaminated, because it stinks so bad. I have to go wash the clothes jacket and bag I brought ow and will have to shower again after touching them.

      And i guess my parents wonder why I don't go home anymore. They're getting older too. I hope their reasoning for subjecting others to this is enough for them. Seriously, two days of visiting and they can't take it outside?

      November 26, 2010 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • Kaori

      So your smoking relatives make you antisocial?

      November 26, 2010 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  19. rebelX

    When are we going to see the study indicating how many people die from CAR EXHAUST?

    November 26, 2010 at 12:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. jorge washinson

    Wonder how many die in car accidents or inner city drug wars?

    November 26, 2010 at 12:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. rebelX

    The truth most non-smokers love to avoid is that AUTOMOBILE EXHAUST kills WAY MORE...
    But again; people like to blame others...

    November 26, 2010 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • millie fink

      Ha! Another participant in the March of False Equivalences!

      Not a very good one, though–the goose-step is a little off.

      Still, it's good to see some comic relief in this somber parade.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:34 | Report abuse |
    • bruceben

      millie makes me laugh. what a joik.

      November 26, 2010 at 15:50 | Report abuse |
  22. Glenn

    I think they meant 1 in 100 deaths are related to smoke. Not 1 in 100 people will die each year from smoke. As usual people don't know how to write articles when it comes to statistics.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. MJB

    If you are around so much second hand smoke as if smoking yourself of course there will be consequences. Like people that work in coal mines, beauty salons, painters etc. Those fields that have caustic fumes can cause multiple problems. Smoking MJ will do it also. Just because theres no nicotine involved does not mean there are no adverfse effects to your lungs. You would need to be around all this stuff on a daily basis and it will catch up to you.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • matt

      I agree 100%.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      You are dead wrong about MJ. There were 20 year studies done with heavy duty pot smokers that did not also smoke cigarettes and they were able to prove empirically it did not cause lung cancer. People may get other diseases such as COPD from smoking pot, but not cancer.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:39 | Report abuse |
    • jorge washinson

      You can bet the pot smokers ran the test.

      November 26, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
  24. Marco555

    Fine, then you owe me for half a pack for the last 10 years.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. jorge washinson

    How many people die from IRS audits? We need some comparisons.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Mike

    @ millie fink

    Actually, they have made many mistake in the past including fabricating data for a very similar study back in October 2005. Their credibility on the subject is rather suspect. Previous claims made by Lnacet around cancer have been debunked by The New England Journal of Medicine, the Royal College of Physicians amongst others.

    Nothing the Lancet publishes on the subject should be taken seriously

    November 26, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. matt

    I knew this lady who worked at a bar (I think she owned it) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin for over 20 years who got lung cancer and died because of 2nd hand smoke. It was surprising to us all since we always thought she was healthy. She used to say that she didn't smoke because her clients did it for her. Oh the irony.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. jorge washinson

    I have never heard of a funeral home or cemetery going through a recession.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. jorge washinson

    Did you know that most ingredients in perfume smell terrible until they are mixed in the right proportions?

    November 26, 2010 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Rower

    As long as I don't have to inhale the smoke that a smoker spews out and have to live with the consequence of the smoker's vile habit, I don't have a problem with their smoking. But when I have to inhale the utterly vile and noxious dirt that these fellows spew out, and when they take away my freedom to not smoke, so that they can indulge in their dirty addiction, I have a serious problem with that.

    Thank goodness information about the havoc smokers cause around them, is starting to become more widely available. Bottomline, as long as they indulge in their addiction, and not infringe on the freedom of others by forcing them to inhale the noxious fumes they spew around, they are welcome to indulge in the vile habit.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Kit

    I read this article first on the BBC and then on here. This is really very interesting. It is not so hard to believe that second hand smoking causes health complications. Since the article is talking about the entire world's population it is also saying it is not so common, assuming the 1 in 100 was an error. It is just more research showing the dangers of second hand smoking, and smoking in general. Which many of us already knew about. It is no secret that smoking is not a healthy habit, for anyone involved. I personally have asthma and have had it since I was a child. My father smokes and has always had to be careful around me because smoke tends to make me stop breathing. Really not an enjoyable experience. I have had problems other places as well. Bus stops, restaurants, etc. I usually have to move bus stops if a smoker comes along because, well... I can't breath and the human body kind of needs oxygen.

    Where the debate can begin is here: If I can't move bus stops, and a smoker comes. Who has more of a right? My breathing or their right to smoke their cigarette? Normally I'll move away from the bus stop, putting myself at risk of missing my bus. Because I feel it is impolite to ask the other person to put it out. If I ask someone to put a cigarette out, I guarantee that I will get screamed at for it. Telling me I am a self ritious non-smoker with no respect for smokers. So who is right and who is wrong in these situations? (I have the same issue with perfume, actually. I've had to move seats on a bus if someone wearing strong perfume sits next to me)

    November 26, 2010 at 12:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rower

      Your asthma probably began right at home when you were a child, triggered by your father's smoking. Many incidents of asthma that begins during childhood, have a smoking parent as the cause. Even if they try to smoke away from the child, those attempts are rarely effective. In a child who is sensitive, even a small amount of cigarette smoke can trigger the allergic reaction (asthma).

      November 26, 2010 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
  32. jorge washinson

    Here we are worrying about second hand smoke and the North Koreans are trying to start a war to reduce their population.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. John

    This article is just blowing smoke. (This from a life long non-smoker). I'm more likely to die in a car accident.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. jorge washinson

    Have you noticed ,since people quit smoking, the murder rate has gone up?

    November 26, 2010 at 12:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. John

    Wow, that's almost as much as religion.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • jorge washinson

      You are exactly right about that one. Close to 3000 in one religious meeting on 9-11 and millions in WW2.

      November 26, 2010 at 12:59 | Report abuse |
    • 5456110

      Yes, the Jews were the ones behind the WTC attacks.

      November 27, 2010 at 18:22 | Report abuse |
  36. jorge washinson

    It is really nothing to joke about.As a former smoker you always wonder if it will come back to grab you. I feel for the friends I have lost, and by no means all attributed to smoking.I have lost more to diabetes probably and car wrecks. In 70 years a lot of things happen.Families suffer.

    November 26, 2010 at 12:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. ACE Cloud

    I find it funny how the Anti Smoking people are trying to get rid of smoking, But the Dope Heads are trying to get their pot legalized. Reformed smokers are the worst. They thing they are better than anyone and think they have to save the world from Smokers. What about the Ehause coming from the semi truck in front of you in a traffic jam? Are they gonna cry about that? I dont believe anything about second hand smoke. I am just waiting for the Anti Smokers to try to get people charged with child abuse if you smoke in your own home. Its gonna come. But if you try to tell them that THEY too can be charged with the polet light burning gas and making carbon monoxide fill their house. They will fight that. Then you can tell them how stupid they look for pushing for what they think. They are all freaks with nothing better to do.

    November 26, 2010 at 13:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Irony

    Excuses and rationalizations all add up to one point of view: Screw other people. Everyone should be able to do whatever they want... As long as it doesn't hurt me (or mine) personally. 'Cause I'm a "good person." 🙂

    November 26, 2010 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Viper1j

    And second hand fat grosses out 20 million people every week.

    November 26, 2010 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Christine

    For those of you on here who think this is just a campaign against smoking.....these stats were taken from ALL over the world. I love the people who say they cannot afford to feed their kids, yet, they have a cigarette in one hand and a can of beer in the other.

    November 26, 2010 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Rockafeller

    It's not about whether its healthy or not to smoke around people or children. Obviously it's not healthy. The question is where do you draw the line. Should cars that are emitting unhealthy emissions not be allowed in the carpool lane at my kids school? Should the Boy Scouts ban campfires since they pose a potential health threat to kids? Should we ban all meat with Bovine Growth Hormone since its leads to multiple diseases in the body? (Well, most other 1st rate nations did, except america) People should accept that there is a healthy debate that can occur about where the line should be drawn, but ousting one health hazard instead of another ALWAYS comes across as ignorant. I dont smoke, but my god, i'm not going to tell other people not to while they are walking down the public street that they pay for with their tax dollars. I mean, this is America, right?

    November 26, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Moxie

    I am not a smoker, and even I think this is a load of $^!+

    November 26, 2010 at 13:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. msrimae

    Ok here's a ? If i a smoker go 2 da hospital with a cough where did my cough come from smoking if a nonsmoker goes with same symptom where did their come from? I have known people who never smoke or drink that have died from cancer and liver damage how many people have died from drunk driving & how many ppl have from throwing a cig out my car window lol how much smoke are we exposing our children to when we burn dinner for da night i hate when nonsmokers think they know what smokin does and half of them are dumb as a box of rocks @ least be more intelligent than i it's my life not yours i don't tell you what's right or wrong with your life so go take a flying hike

    November 26, 2010 at 13:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jim P

      Don't hold back msrimae, tell us how you really feel!

      November 26, 2010 at 13:38 | Report abuse |
  44. Jim P

    If this were true my six brothers and sisters and I would have all died before we reached 10 years of age. My father and mother smoked like freight trains all day, in the house, in the car, where ever.
    Father died of smoking-related causes, mother of old age but none of the kids has shown any issues related to second-hand smoke. Who decides if an illness gets chalked up in the second-hand smoke column, a non-smoking analyist?

    November 26, 2010 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Jam Wilk

    1 in 100!!! lies lies. I would love to see the stats

    November 26, 2010 at 13:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. huey1

    I have serious doubts about the stats they have thrown around. My stated quote some seemingly over the top stats. I contacted my state public health department and asked how they developed their stats. They responded by saying that they got them from the WHO and were just quoting them. Numerous attempts were make with the WHO to respond to the same questions but they have failed to reply. It seems that they are quoting made up stats without any supporting research and let's face it. They are lying. And no I do not smoke cigarettes. I just want to verify before I trust, a lesson learned with the global warming bunch.

    November 26, 2010 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Real Scientist

    @millie fink

    So, you think the smells from tobacco indicates harmful chemicals, but the fragrances from perfumes do not? So I guess you've never heard of Volatile Organic Compounds? Maybe you're heard of formaldehyde? Or maybe you've heard of Phthalates?

    Perfumes and other fragrances have actually been proven through observational experiments to be directly harmful to people, especially children. Unlike the dangers of second-hand smoke, which are claims based solely on estimates, and not actual observance of results.

    Goes to show how knowledgeable Millie Fink and like-minded people actually are – latching onto the second-hand smoke propaganda while being utterly clueless to the dangers of such simple products like perfumes.

    November 26, 2010 at 13:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • millie fink

      So if you're a real scientist, why aren't you out there campaigning against the dangers of those kinds of chemicals?

      Q: If they do pose risks, they're clearly not at the level of danger of those imposed by secondhand smoke. I.e., how pervasive is a woman's perfume compared to cigarette smoke?

      A: Not very.

      November 26, 2010 at 13:51 | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      The combination of daily chemicals we are exposed to is worse than a few hours of 2nd hand smoke in a bar for sure. if people read the lables on there products they would be shocked.

      November 26, 2010 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • Real Scientist

      @millie fink: What makes you think I'm not out there campaigning against the dangers of every day chemicals that people completely ignore, yet get up in arms about less harmful second-hand smoke?

      There are numerous items that people blindly use every single day that are also harmful, sometimes just as harmful or more harmful than second-hand smoke ever could be. Yet you rail against people that criticize this bad "study" for saying what is factually true – that there are plenty of things more harmful than second-hand smoke, such a smog. And plenty of chemicals that are just as irritating as cigarette smoke, such as perfumes.

      You seem to be nothing more than a self-centered individual that only cares if something negatively affects you, instead of caring about actual harm. The smell from tobacco is just so horrible....because you don't like it. But perfumes are A-OK because apparently you have a double standard when it comes to offensive, overpowering odors. And I guess since you don't seem to be able to smell the smog and carcinogenic chemicals from car exhaust and other sources of air pollution (of which tobacco smoke is an insignificant factor), that must mean they're not remotely as harmful as that foul-smelling tobacco smoke!

      November 26, 2010 at 14:17 | Report abuse |
    • millie fink

      @millie fink: What makes you think I'm not out there campaigning against the dangers of every day chemicals that people completely ignore . . . ?

      The fact that you didn't say you are. Now that you're implying you are (and I hope you indeed are), I applaud your efforts.

      There are numerous items that people blindly use every single day that are also harmful, sometimes just as harmful or more harmful than second-hand smoke ever could be. Yet you rail against people that criticize this bad "study" for saying what is factually true – that there are plenty of things more harmful than second-hand smoke, such a smog. And plenty of chemicals that are just as irritating as cigarette smoke, such as perfumes.

      Just as irritating, or just as harmful?

      If other chemicals and such also harm people, then I'm all for limiting their use as well. But the subject at hand is secondhand cigarette smoke, not car exhaust and perfume.

      You seem to be nothing more than a self-centered individual that only cares if something negatively affects you, instead of caring about actual harm.

      Secondhand tobacco smoke does cause actual harm.

      The smell from tobacco is just so horrible....because you don't like it.

      That is another problem with it, yes, but not a reason to ban its presence around me. I object to demonstrated health concerns.

      But perfumes are A-OK because apparently you have a double standard when it comes to offensive, overpowering odors.

      No, perfumes are not A-OK with me IF they too cause health problems. And if they indeed do, well thank you for teaching that to me today.

      And I guess since you don't seem to be able to smell the smog and carcinogenic chemicals from car exhaust and other sources of air pollution (of which tobacco smoke is an insignificant factor), that must mean they're not remotely as harmful as that foul-smelling tobacco smoke!

      No, as I said, the stench is a secondary issue. It is related, though, to smoker-denial . . .

      November 26, 2010 at 14:38 | Report abuse |
  48. Julian

    This article is horrible. Their math is all over the place, and the focus of this article is to eliminate indoor smoking in Senegal and Cambodia.

    November 26, 2010 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Heybilox

    I wanna kill myself !!
    Do I go in a garage that isn't ventilated with my car running or a small 6' X 8' room with my poker buddies all smoking cigars?

    November 26, 2010 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Heybilox

    I still like poker night but when I work on my vechicle the garage door is open.
    I'm over 60 and can't believe the crap we've been fed over the years.
    Peace

    November 26, 2010 at 13:49 | Report abuse | Reply
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