A new study shows that smoking in cars (even one cigarette) increases the level of pollution inside to over three times the recommendation set by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).
According to NY Daily, the study had doctors in Britain measuring concentrations of fine particles in cars driven by 17 people — 14 of which were smoking vehicles — by using an electronic monitor placed on the back seat. The volunteers in the study were then advised to follow their normal smoking habits as the smoke levels in their car were monitored over three days.
“During smoking journeys, levels of fine particles were 85 micrograms per cubic meter on average, compared to guidelines of 25 mcg/cu. meter for indoor pollution set by the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO).
“Even when when the driver opened the window or turned on ventilation to remove the smoke, particulate levels were still above the WHO benchmark at some point during these journeys.
“The average peak during smoking trips was 385 mcg/cu.meter, with the highest being more than 880 mcg/cu. meter.”
The study, which will appear in the journal Tobacco Control, says that the small particles are particularly dangerous because they lodge deep in the lungs. “Children exposed to these levels of fine particulate are likely to suffer ill-health effects,” says the study, continuing, “There are increasing numbers of countries legislating against smoking in cars and such measures may be appropriate to prevent the exposure of children to these high levels of second-hand smoke.”
That last bit about legislation? It’s already happening, according to GulfNews. In Dubai, UAE residents can be fined for smoking in their cars with children under the age of 12 present. Over there, it’s considered a violation of the law on par with using a cell phone or the refusal to wear a seat belt, and authorities will bust motorists accordingly.
Will similar laws be passed here? Time will tell, but the smoking in cars study will certainly speed things along.
What do you think? Should people be allowed to smoke in their cars?