Non-smokers beware the foul habits of your smoking friends, neighbors and, well, anyone in your vicinity. Oh, and most of all keep your kids away from them! From USA Today:
Secondhand smoke sickens millions and kills more than 600,000 people worldwide each year, including more than 165,000 children under 5, according to the first report to estimate the worldwide burden of disease and death from tobacco.
The World Health Organization’s report on 192 countries appeared in The Lancet on Thursday and found more than half of the deaths are from heart disease, followed by deaths from cancer, lung infections, asthma and other ailments.
More than two-thirds of the children’s deaths are in Africa and Asia, where they have less access to important public health services, such as vaccines, and less advanced medical care, the report says.
“These (statistics) are sad data,” the American Cancer Society’s Tom Glynn says.
Tobacco kills a total of 5.7 million people worldwide each year, including 5.1 million people who die from their own smoking, the report says. Smoking is the world’s leading cause of preventable death, according to the WHO.
Growing concern about secondhand smoke has led more than 40 countries to enact some kind of smoking ban, although many of these laws are limited, according to Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights.
In the USA, 35 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Northern Mariana Islands have smoke-free laws, protecting 79% of the population.
According to the new report, children are particularly vulnerable. About 40% are exposed to secondhand smoke, along with one-third of adults. Kids exposed to secondhand smoke are at higher risk of a variety of illnesses, such as asthma, pneumonia, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome.
Almost half of all deaths from secondhand smoke are in adult women, while 28% are in children.
“The combination of infectious diseases and tobacco seems to be a deadly combination for children,” the report says…
[continues at USA Today]