More than 600,000 people, including 165,000 children, die every year from passive smoking, a report from World Health Organisation experts says today. The estimates from the first analysis of the true global toll are based on the best available data across 192 countries and the known effects of exposure.
The biggest impact on children is in the developing world. "Two-thirds of these deaths occur in Africa and south Asia," the authors write in the medical journal The Lancet. "Children's exposure to second-hand smoke most likely happens at home, according to The Guardian.
The total worldwide death toll from tobacco use is more than 5million people annually, added the report, which is published in The Lancet and is the first to assess the global impact of passive smoking. Adult deaths are evenly spread across rich and poor countries but more women die from secondary smoke than men, it said.
Betty McBride, of the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘These figures should make smokers stop and think about the impact they're having on other people's health, particularly children's. They should also serve as encouragement to government to... promote smoke-free homes and cars', Metro reports.
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