There’s no denying that smoking one pack, two packs, three packs of Pall Mall cigarettes a day is very unhealthy. However – it turns out that just an occasional cigarette – is responsible for thousands of heart attack deaths annually. According to a new study led by World Health Organization, researchers found that passive smoking or secondhand smoke kills about 600,000 people worldwide each year.
Overall, tobacco smoking kills an estimated 5.1 million people worldwide each year. In addition, passive smoking causes 379,000 deaths from heart disease, 165,000 deaths from lower respiratory infections, 36,900 deaths from asthma and 21,400 lung cancer deaths.
Researchers say that two-thirds of the passive-smoking induced deaths occur in Africa and south Asia. Children are more heavily exposed to passive smoking, which commonly occurs in the home, than any other age group and about 165,000 children die each year because of secondhand smoke.
In Third World Nations such as Africa, more children die from passive smoking than adults, 43,375 children versus 9,514 adults, whereas in high income European countries fewer children die from secondhand smoke than adults, 71 children versus 35,388 adults.
Scientists analyzed data from 192 countries dated back to 2004 and found overall, 40 percent of children, 33 percent of non-smoking men and 35 percent of non-smoking women were exposed to passive smoking in 2004.
Scientists say that only 7.4 percent of the world population lives in a non-smoking environment.
To this end, advocates and scientists are calling for more non-smoking regulations and higher taxes on tobacco and cigarettes to help people reduce use of cigarettes.
While one health observer suggested higher taxes may help to some degree, he said that smokers may need to consider using alternatives like “quit smoking pill” or “quit smoking medicine” to help them stop smoking.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 438,000 people in the United States died prematurely from cigarette smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke annually during the period of 1997 to 2001.