Smoking at home may cause as many fatalities as road crashes

UCG researcher show how pollution from cigarettes is worse than coal or turf fires

Smoking in the home can generate pollution six times higher than the World Health Organisation’s outdoor recommendations. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Smoking in the home can generate pollution six times higher than the World Health Organisation’s outdoor recommendations. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters

Tue, May 21, 2013, 11:53

Smoking in the home may be causing as many fatalities as road traffic collisions according to new research commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The research entitled ‘Indoor Air Pollution’ shows the concentration of damaging particulates in the air in the homes of those who smoke indoors was six times higher than the World Health Organisation’s recommendation for general outdoor air quality.

The research was completed by NUI Galway and staff at the University of Aberdeen, the Institute of Occupational Medicine Edinburgh, and the University of Birmingham. It concluded there was a glaring need to address the policy and health implications of smoke in private homes.

Dr Marie Coggins, NUI, Galway said air quality in homes using the solid fuels coal, wood, peat and gas was mostly comparable to that of outdoor air. However smoking at home created much greater levels of air pollutants, with particulate pollution were up to 17 times levels found outdoors.

The impact of exposure to such levels, on vulnerable groups such as children, in homes where smoking occurs indoors “needs urgent action,” he said.