Home smoking 'more deadly'
More than twice as many New Zealanders die from exposure to second-hand smoke in homes than in workplaces, according to reports in the latest New Zealand Medical Journal.
More than 250 deaths a year can be attributed to second-hand smoke in homes, according to research.
Researchers George Thomson, Nick Wilson and Philippa Howden-Chapman from the Wellington School of Medicine said the figures reached by analysing research literature from around the world should convince the Government to turn its attention to reducing deaths from smoking in the home, after the legislation to eliminate it in workplaces and bars.
Children and infants were more vulnerable to second-hand smoke than were adults. They had smaller airways, faster breathing rates and immature immune systems. Infants tended to breath in more dust and smoke particles, and were more likely to absorb smoke residues left on tables, furniture and other surfaces.
That exposure worsened asthma and led to lung damage, middle ear disease and behavioural problems. It increased the likelihood of sudden infant death.
Children were also more at risk because households with children were more likely to include a smoker (38 per cent compared with 33 per cent for all households).
Dr Thomson and his colleagues urged the Government to set a verifiable target to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke in the home.
AdvertisementAdvertisement"Child exposure is a particular concern as children may have no one to negotiate smoke-free homes on their behalf."
Though each year smoking deaths were 10 times greater than the number of road deaths, the Government spent 50 times more per death on reducing the road toll than on smoking reduction $1400 per death on tobacco control, compared with $69,900 per death on road safety.