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Passive smoke linked to long-term harm

There has been a great deal of debate about the British governments decision to ban smoking in all public places but the latest research from the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) seem to confirm the health benefits of doing so.

The investigators studied the effect of passive smoking and the onset of respiratory symptoms or change in lung function in 4,200 adult non-smokers for nine years.

They subjected 283 subjects to ‘new’ second hand smoke and 713 had ongoing exposure to second hand smoke.

Those subjects that were exposed to ‘new’ second hand smoke had a 77% higher risk of wheezing and breathlessness and an 80% risk of tightness in the chest at night than unexposed individuals.

Those who had ongoing exposure to passive smoke were a 69% more likely to wheeze during exertion and more than twice as likely to have a persistent cough during the study.

As this was such a large study over a long period time it pretty well confirms the dangers of passive smoking.

Since the ECRHS began in 1990, the number of non-smokers exposed to passive smoke in Europe has fallen by 50 percent, no doubt as a result of measures adopted in many countries to ban smoking in many public places.

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