Second-hand tobacco smoke is toxic - California
Jan 27, 2006 - 7:37:37 PM

California has classified second-hand tobacco smoke as a toxic air pollutant, becoming the first US state to make such a declaration.

California, which pioneered smoking bans in the workplace and later in restaurants and bars, Thursday put drifting smoke in the same category as diesel exhaust and said it could lead to tougher regulation, reported the online edition of BBC News.

The decision to make such a declaration came after many scientific studies had linked passive smoking to a range of cancers and respiratory diseases, according to California Air Resources Board.

A study report released last September found a sharply increased risk of breast cancer in young women exposed to tobacco smoke. It also linked second-hand smoke to premature births, asthma and numerous health problems in children.

The study found that about 16 percent of all Californians smoked, but that 56 percent of adults and 64 percent of adolescents were exposed to second-hand smoke.

According to WHO, smoking is a greater cause of death and disability than any single disease considered responsible for approximately five million deaths worldwide every year.

It is believed there are 1.1 billion smokers in the world - 800 million of them in developing countries.

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