Passive smoking is just as dangerous as active smoking, according to a new study funded by the European Commission.
The report says that passive smoking not only increases the risk of lung cancer but also respiratory disease, middle ear infection and decreased lung function in young people.
The study warns that approximately 80 per cent of Europeans over the age of 15 years are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke and inhale the equivalent of one or more cigarettes a day. The French researchers recommend that governments protect non smokers by designating more smoking areas and banning smoking in all indoor public places (BMJ, 1998; 316: 9).
Both active and passive smoking leads to the progression of atherosclerosis, according to a US medical report. The study demonstrated that exposure to environmental smoke caused an 20 per cent increase in the risk of developing ather osclerosis, after accounting for lifestyle variables (JAMA, 1998; 279: 119-124).