By Peter Laird, MD
The World Health Organization released a report showing that over 600,000 deaths a year are attributable to second hand smoke worldwide.
Health officials have known that more than 1 billion people around the world smoke and 5 million people die each year from tobacco-related illness, according to the World Health Organization. That's about one person dying every six seconds.
But just how many people are sickened by secondhand smoke has been less clear, which led researchers to try to investigate how big the problem is. Based on 2004 data gathered from 192 countries, researchers estimate "as many as 40 percent of children, 35 percent of women, and 33 percent of men are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke indoors," according to a WHO study published in the British medical journal The Lancet.
Just as many deaths from diabetes are preventable by exercise and healthy lifestyles, the scourge of tobacco abuse unfortunately, like many vices, affects innocent people all too often. When I was an orderly working at the hospital where my mother was an RN, one of the doctors simply stated to me, Americans eat, drink and smoke themselves to death. That was back in 1977, how little truth changes.