Ban on smoking in a car considered, following study

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smoking in a car

The sixties are over. Smoking in a car is no longer cool. Image: gbaku/Flickr/CC BY-SA

This just in: smoking is hazardous to your health. Smoking in a car is also bad for your passengers, even with the windows open, a new study shows.

Study finds smoking in a car very hazardous

The study, conducted by a group of researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, was the largest of its kind ever done. It’s findings were first published in the UK in Tobacco Control. It was later reported by Consumer Reports. The study found that there is about 7.4 micrograms of airborne particulate matter (air pollution) per cubic meter is the average non-smoking car.

By contrast, the study found around 85 micrograms per cubic meter in the average car in which somebody smokes. The peak pollution average 385 micrograms per cubic meter, but the worst car measured 88o.

The average level of airborne particulates was 11 times higher with drivers who smoked as compared to those driven by non-smokers.

According to the World Health Organization, 25 and below is a safe level. The study also found that neither opening windows nor running the air conditioner reduced particulates to a level deemed safe by the World Health Organization.

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Methodology of the study

To gather their data, the Scottish scientists secured a device in the back seat of 17 different cars. Particulate matter was measured every minute on more than 100 trips, ranging in length from 10 minutes to an hour. The average length of a trip was 27 minutes. Fourteen of the participating drivers smoked on their journeys. Thirty-four trips were smokeless.

Worse still for children

According to the authors of the study, children are more affected by second-hand smoke that adults.

The report said:

“Children are likely to be at greater risk from SHS (second-hand smoke) exposure due to their faster breathing rates, less developed immune system and their inability to move away from the source in many home and car settings.”

Second-hand smoke has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome, asthma and meningitis, among other harmful maladies.

The study helps confirm a February release from the Center for Disease Control expressing concern that too many children are being exposed to second-hand smoke in automobiles.

Legislative bans

The authors also said:

“We believe that there is a clear need for legislation to prohibit smoking in cars where children are present.”

In the wake of the study, British Members of Parliament are considering The Smoke-Free Private Vehicles Bill, which would ban smoking in private vehicles, if children are passengers. If implemented, a violator would be forced to attend a “smoke-free awareness” class and pay a fine of 60 pounds, or about $97.

According to Consumer Reports, Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine and Maryland either have already banned smoking in cars with children present, or are considering such legislation.

Another thing smokers may consider is that the smell the smoke leaves in your car will probably cost you plenty if you ever plan on refinancing a vehicle.


Mother Nature Network
Huffington Post UK

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