How harmful is passive smoking really?
Is it true that 52 smokers kill 1 passive smoker?
It is a disturbing figure at the same time and confusing; 52 smokers are responsible for the premature death of 1 non-smoker. Where does this number actually come from, and is it substantiated? Instead of blindly copying these kinds of statistics, it is wise to look at how these calculations are made.
More smokers to kill a non-smoker
How many smokers do you need to kill a non-smoker? It almost seems like the setup for a bad joke, but it is a very serious matter. The consequences of passive secondhand smoke have been calculated since 1990, when the meter came to 31 smokers who ensure that 1 non-smoker dies younger than normal. Much weight is given to children who die from diseases related to smoking. Children of smokers die on average younger than children of parents who do not smoke. Most people have quite a few fewer than 52 parents, so there are more factors involved in the calculation.
Can you avoid smoke?
In recent years, more and more anti-smoking campaigns have been carried out, smoking is no longer allowed in many public places, such as in the catering industry. As a result, non-smokers come into contact with people who do smoke less and less often. This seems to be related to the decreasing number of premature deaths. 31 or 52, these are specific numbers that are of course not quite correct in practice. A limited group of people is questioned, medical science has changed and the measurement criteria may differ slightly. Still, smoking people seem to have less impact on the rest of the population, which is a good thing. For example, research has shown that an extinguished cigarette can spread harmful substances in the air for up to five days. This means that even an ashtray can kill.
Although smokers are doing their best to be less of a burden to their environment, let's hope that soon no one will die of passive smoking.
Sitting next to a smoker is harmful, even when it is not smoking
The term "second-hand smoke" had been known for some time, now "third-hand smoke" has also been coined by researchers at Yale University. It appears that smokers release harmful substances into the air through their clothing and throughout the body that linger for a long time.
Everywhere a smoking den
The term "smoking den" is also known, this is a place where people smoke a lot. That air will never completely disappear, you will smell it long after the smokers have left the room. But if you smell it, is this air still harmful? So yes, researchers have not only tested how a location smells, but whether harmful substances are present in the air as a result of smoking. They conducted an experiment for this in two cinema halls.
Smoking in the cinema
There is no smoking in a cinema, the air in itself should be more or less the same. The air quality was measured in two rooms. Children's films were shot in the first room, in the other films for adults. There were more (potential) smokers in the second room. There, the air quality also turned out to be worse, especially when the audience had just entered the room. But even after they left, the air quality remained behind the room, which was mainly filled with children. This would mean that smokers' bodies and clothing release air into the air, even when no smoking is taking place at that time. This indicates third-hand smoking, a step further than inhaling someone else's smoke.
Many deaths among non-smokers
You do not have to smoke to die prematurely from the consequences of smoking. When you are often around smokers, your body can be seriously damaged. Even when they are not smoking at the time. Because the consequences often manifest themselves much later, in this case little social distancing is usually applied, as is the case with a virus pandemic. We are not saying that you should avoid smokers from now on, but it can improve your health.