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Smoking in car breaks pollution limits

16th October 2012

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen have warned that people who smoke in their cars are breaking World Health Organisation (WHO) limits on pollution.

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They said children travelling in the cars - even if windows were open - would breathe in this pollution if someone in the front was smoking.

The Tobacco Control journal reported that the researchers measured the pollution created from 85 car trips.

The team used a monitor which was attached to the back seat to record and then analyse data from car journeys ranging from 10 minutes to an hour in length.

Out of the 85 trips, the driver smoked up to four cigarettes during 49 of the journeys. The team said the average levels of "fine particulate matter" was 85µg/m3, which is over triple the maximum safe indoor limit of 25µg/m3 recommended by WHO.

During the journeys where the driver did not smoke, the average level was 7.4µg/m3.

The research authors said: "The evidence from this [research] paper is that second-hand smoke concentrations in cars where smoking takes place are likely to be harmful to health under most ventilation conditions."

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

However, Simon Clark, director of the smokers' group Forest, responded: "We don't encourage adults to smoke in a car if small children are present...according to research, 84% of adults don't smoke in a car with children present so legislation to ban it would be disproportionate."

 

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