Cancer risk: new studies' shock result
TWO new studies have confirmed the potentially deadly effects of passive smoking, says the Cancer Council.
The reports, published in leading international journals, showed non-smokers' risk of developing lung cancer jumped 32 per cent if their work, social and home lives were not smoke-free.
They also revealed that a known cancer-causing agent derived from smoking, the carcinogen NNAL, could be found in a non-smoker's urine after just four hours spent in a smoky environment.
Traces of cotinine, a by-product of nicotine, were also found.
Cancer Council Tasmanian chief executive Lawson Ride urged the State Government yesterday to ban smoking in all enclosed work and public places as soon as possible.
"In light of these new findings it's even harder for anyone to argue that smoking affects only the smoker," Mr Ride said.
"There is now more evidence that people exposed to tobacco smoke are at higher risk of lung cancer, and that even short exposure to smoky environments greatly increases the level of carcinogens in a non-smoker's body."
Mr Ride said thousands of smokers would make New Year's resolutions to give up the habit, a task he said would be made easier if more places were smoke-free.
"It's time for the Government to put smoke-free places at the top of its list too," he said.
The call follows controversy over the State Government's proposed smoking reforms for Tasmania, which are slated to come into affect on January 1, 2005.
It was revealed earlier this year that Health Minister David Llewellyn ignored the recommendation of his own department for a total smoking ban in work and public places; a range of smoking bans and restrictions is proposed instead.
It will change where smokers can stand in Tasmania's bars and clubs, but many will remain filled with second-hand smoke.
Smokers will not be able to light-up within one metre of a bar or cashier in a designated smoking bar.
And where a hotel or pub has only one bar, smoking is restricted to half that bar.
Total smoking bans will apply only to nightclubs, cabaret rooms and gaming areas.