Passive Smoking Hazard!!!

‘Thirty people dying every day from passive smoking’ Mar 3 2005
Madeleine Brindley, Western Mail

PRESSURE to ban smoking in public and in workplaces last night intensified as it emerged 30 people die every day because of passive smoking.

Shocking research has revealed at least two deaths a day are caused by the effects of environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace. And one bar worker a week is killed because they have been exposed to passive smoking while working in the hospitality industry.

The findings have renewed calls for a complete ban on all smoking in public places, rather than the watered-down restrictions exempting some bars and clubs, which are favoured by the UK government. Julie Morgan, Cardiff North MP, who is attempting to get a Private Member’s Bill through Parliament to ban smoking in public places in Wales, said, “I feel very strongly that these figures show the absolute danger of passive smoking and I don’t think anyone can now argue against that.

“The sooner we grasp the bullet and do something about this, the better. My Bill will provide the ideal opportunity to do that well before any restrictions would otherwise be introduced.”David Napier, director of the British Heart Foundation in Wales, said, “This study adds even further weight to the call for a total ban.”There is no logic in the current proposal to only ban smoking in those pubs that do not serve food as our estimates show that this would leave around 164,000 pub workers across the UK unprotected by the ban. “If these proposals go ahead unchanged, these workers will be exposed to an unreasonable level of risk to their health that would not be tolerated with any other type of pollutant.”The opportunity to work in a smoke-free workplace should not be a matter of choice – it should be a right.”The new research, published in the British Medical Journal, used UK national databases to calculate number of deaths due to passive smoking at home and at work in employees of the hospitality industry, the general workforce, and the general population. Professor Konrad Jamrozik, who is based at the University of Queensland, in Australia, calculated that passive smoking at work is likely to be responsible for 617 deaths a year and the death of 54 employees a year working in the hospitality industry.

Passive smoking at home could account for a further 2,700 deaths in people aged 20 to 64 and another 8,000 deaths a year among people aged over 65, mainly from strokes and heart disease. Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke at work might contribute up to one fifth of all deaths from passive smoking in the general population aged 20 to 64 years, and up to half of such deaths among hospitality industry staff.

Prof Jamrozik added that adopt- ing smoke-free policies in all UK workplaces and reductions in the general prevalence of smoking would prevent several thousand premature deaths a year.

Dr Richard Lewis, Welsh secretary of the British Medical Association, said, “These figures show how important it is that smoking is banned in all public places as a matter of urgency.”We can no longer put up with a situation where people are dying unnecessarily every day as a result of other people’s actions.”Deborah Arnott of anti- smoking campaign Ash, added, “These shocking figures show yet again the urgent need for a law to end smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public places.”There can be no justification whatever for continuing to expose employees and members of the public to such a serious and readily avoidable health and safety risk.”

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