Estimate of deaths attributable to passive smoking among UK adults: database analysis -

Passive smoking kills at least 30 people every day at work and at home in the United Kingdom, according to a study published online by the BMJ today.

Using national UK databases, Professor Konrad Jamrozik calculated the number of deaths due to passive smoking at home and at work in employees of the hospitality industry (pubs, bars, nightclubs, hotels and restaurants), the general workforce, and the general population of the United Kingdom.

To ensure the calculations did not overestimate the risks of passive smoking, the author re-analysed the data using different levels and risks of exposure from other published studies.

His calculations show that:

-- Passive smoking at work is likely to be responsible for the deaths of more than two employed people every working day in the UK (617 deaths per year)

-- The death of at least one employee in the hospitality industry each week (54 deaths a year) is attributable to passive exposure to tobacco smoke

-- Passive smoking at home might account for a further 2700 deaths in people aged 20-64 years (approaching 8 a day) and a further 8000 deaths a year among people aged 65 or over, mainly from strokes and heart disease

He suggests that exposure at work might contribute up to one fifth of all deaths from passive smoking in the general population aged 20-64 years, and up to half of such deaths among employees of the hospitality industry.

Adoption of smoke free policies in all workplaces in the United Kingdom and reductions in the general prevalence of active smoking would prevent several thousand premature deaths each year, he concludes.

Konrad Jamrozik, Professor of Evidence Based Healthcare, School of
Population Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Tel (Brisbane is GMT +10): +617 33 65 54 21; Mobile: +61 432 920 158

Click here to view full paper online.

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