According to a recent study by the World Health Organization, 40% of Indians are exposed to second hand tobacco smoke at home. Experts say that second hand smoking is as injurious to health as tobacco smoking. Around 30% adults are found to be exposed to second hand tobacco smoke at work, in spite of public smoking regulations.
Passive or second-hand smoking is particularly harmful to children and can significantly increase the risk of lung cancer. At a global level, `1.65 lakh children die before their 5th birthday due to second-hand smoke. 46% of adults are exposed to passive smoking at home in the South East Asia region, according to WHO assessment.
Dr. Thaksaphon Thamarangsi, Director at WHO's Department of Non-communicable Diseases and Environmental Health opined that tobacco control policies of India and other countries need to be strengthened. Joint government and public action is needed to curb the burden of disease caused by passive smoking.
"Government policies and programs must focus on informing masses about the ill-effects of tobacco use and effective measures like pictorial health warnings on tobacco products must depict heart disease and stroke as real dangers of tobacco use," said Dr. Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India.