Monday, November 29, 2010

Newsy: Secondhand Smoke - Staggering Statistics

A study from the World Health Organization reports second hand smoke kills more than 600,000 people every year.

According to the study—the first ever to analyze the global effects of second hand smoke—deaths include 165,000 children under five years old, two thirds of whom live in Africa and South Asia.

The study also says women are more likely than men to be exposed to smoke in the air. A reporter on CBC notes, the WHO is considering these stats: “What the WHO wants is more education programs that talk about the dangers of secondhand smoke, but interestingly enough, they want these programs to really target women because they think women are best empowered to protect themselves from secondhand smoke because more men than women smoke and they also believe that women are in a better position to protect children from secondhand at home.”

A blogger for 24/7 Wall Street says the study could be a blow to big tobacco: “The challenge to tobacco company sales has largely shifted from the huge smoking death suits of the 1990s … The issue now is whether the backlash from the data revealed due to those suits–that tobacco use is even more dangerous than previously thought."

But a writer on Blogger News Network discredits the study. He says WHO researchers are confusing causation with correlation: “This is utter rubbish: The usual epidemiological speculation combined with assuming what you have to prove …Places where a lot of people smoked had more illness! But saying that inhaling other peoples smoke CAUSED the illness is totally unproven. It is just assumed.”

The WHO hopes the study will lead to more indoor bans on smoking. A Fox News report has the word from people who have benefited from such bans.

Citizen 1: “I worked in the restaurant industry where there wasn’t any law like that. And the difference now, where there is, in restaurants is huge.”
Citizen 2: “I think they probably gained, from people like me, who go to places where there isn’t smoking where they didn’t before.”

WHO estimates that of everyone alive today, 500 million will eventually be killed by tobacco.

Writer: Steven Hsieh

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