Wellington: Standing next to someone who is smoking at a distance of 2.6 meters can increase the level of danger 16 times more than the background level, revealed by the study of University of Otago, New Zealand.
In a five week long study held by the public health researchers, It was found that when smokers were observed at an average distance of 2.6 meters, the amount of fine particulates in the air increased by 70% than when there were no smokers around.
They used a sensitive air monitor to measure the quality of air in a shopping area where they were passed by 284 people who were smoking on the streets, footpaths, and public places.
One of the team researcher, Dr. George Thomson stressed upon the need of implementing smoke-free policies especially at outdoor parts of shopping centers and food outlets.“Much of the impetus for these policies is to denormalise smoking further, and to decrease the example of smoking to children,” says Dr.Thomson
“Reducing visible smoking also makes it easier for smokers to quit and to stay quit.” he added.
The study co-author and associate professor, Nick Wilson said that the city councils were responsible to ensure policies to protect the health of pedestrians, restaurant workers and those in outdoor pavement seating.
“They should be particularly concerned about protecting bar and restaurant workers who frequently have to breathe in secondhand smoke when servicing outdoor tables with smokers,” he says.
The likely benefits of smoke-free policy include; discouragement of passive smokers, better image and environment of city, less street cleaning costs due to less cigarette trash and the reduction of secondhand smoke drifting into shops and offices etc.