Tobacco smoke and indoor pollution

The tobacco smoke it is not only bad for smokers, which is well known, but it is the most significant source of indoor pollution. It is also good to take note of this as you rattle off the data on the smoke on the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day which is celebrated on May 31st.

Leaving aside the effects of tobacco smoke on the health of smokers, those who concern the environments and other people it is good to know something more. Also because the above data say that, despite the decreasing trend of recent years, the number of smokers in Italy has returned to increase.

The tobacco smoke it is not a specific air pollutant, but more properly a source of pollution linked to human behavior that significantly increases the concentration in the air of carbon monoxide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, respirable suspended particles and other toxic substances.

Technically, what we call generically tobacco smoke consists of two components: the part inhaled and filtered by the smoker's lungs (mainstream) and the part directly linked to the combustion of the tobacco and paper (in the case of cigarettes).

The mixture of the two parts of which the tobacco smoke it is very complex: it contains gases, organic compounds and particles among which many irritating, toxic, carcinogenic and mutagenic elementary compounds are identifiable.

But the characteristic of the tobacco smoke what we know less is its extraordinary persistence in the environment. The rooms where you smoked, to be cleaned, must be ventilated for a long time and vigorously, otherwise the toxic substances remain in suspension for many days.

The negative health effects of the tobacco smoke in the short term they can be sinusitis, increased exposure to colds, bronchitis, flu, reduction of immune defenses and acceleration of aging processes due to the production of free radicals and the destruction of vitamins.

There is enough to quit smoking, but smokers are increasing. The Higher Institute of Health, in its latest report on Smoking in Italy, states that after 5 years of a downward trend, tobacco consumption is increasing in Italy. In fact, the total percentage of smokers went from 20.6% in 2013 to 22% in 2014.

Curiosity: women smoke a lot more. Among female Italians, the percentage of smokers went from 15.3% in 2013 to 18.9% in 2014. The number of so-called 'heavy smokers' also increased. The electronic cigarette? In 2014, its use more than halved compared to the previous year, going from 4.2% to 1.6%.

We recommend our article How to quit smoking

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