Secondhand Smoke Infographic

Based on research, and although evidence is incomplete, there’s enough evidence available to support legislation against smoking in cars when children are present.

This research was carried out to determine the health risk of second hand smoke to children when in a car. The researchers also wished to demonstrate that even though smoking in cars isn’t twenty three times more toxic in the car compared to in the home, it can nevertheless be quite harmful to children.

To establish the risks involved, the researchers first of all looked at the combination of chemicals that comprise second hand smoke as well as its concentration in cars in different conditions such as speed, volume and ventilation. Secondly, they looked at the length of time a person would be in the car. Thirdly, they observed the length of time a person would be exposed to the second hand smoke. Next, the degree of difference that the effect of second hand smoke has on children in comparison to adults was included in the risk equation, and lastly, they considered the health impact, which is difficult to determine due to all of the different toxins and chemicals one is exposed to in a lifetime.

The researchers found that due to the confined cabin space, with the worst ventilation conditions, as well as in peak contamination, that the evidence indicates that smoking in cars produces fine particle pollution concentrations which are very rarely found in studies on air quality.

This evidence represents an important health risk due to the fact that exposure to smoking in cars remains very common, and children are especially at risk and are open to further toxic contamination when their parents are cigarette smokers.

The researchers conclude that there’s sufficient evidence to make a valid decision for legislation against smoking in cars with children.

Secondhand Smoke Infographic

Secondhand Smoke Infographic

References: doi: 10.1503/cmaj.100903

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