Quit Victoria says a new study calculating deaths from passive smoke confirms the need for legislation to make all indoor workplaces smokefree.
The study published in the British Medical Journal's Tobacco Control, has found that the annual number of deaths from passive smoking in New Zealand is between skin cancer (200 deaths) and road crashes (500 deaths).
The study has found that there are currently 325 potentially avoidable deaths each year in New Zealand caused by exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.
Quit Executive Director Todd Harper says the study confirms the need to protect all employees from environmental tobacco smoke.
""The introduction of smokefree dining and shopping centres in Victoria has been a very positive step forward, but we need to go further now.""
""This study highlights that comprehensive smokefree legislation - including bars, nightclubs and gambling venues - is vital.""
""Without smokefree legislation, these venues will continue to pose a health risk to their staff and patrons.""
British researchers Sir Richard Doll and Sir Richard Peto have estimated the risk of developing lung cancer from passive smoking is about 90 times higher than the risk of developing an asbestos related cancer due to asbestos in buildings.
Mr Harper said Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows in Australia 128 people died from being exposed to environmental tobacco smoke at home in 1998.
""This figure does not include the number of deaths caused by passive smoking at work,"" he said.
""The effects of being exposed to passive smoke range from irritations, such as sore eyes and throat, to serious respiratory illness, like asthma attacks, and prolonged exposure can lead to heart disease and lung cancer.""
""Being exposed to cigarette smoke is unpleasant and irritating for many people, and deadly for some people.""
""The only way to remove the risk is to make all enclosed workplaces smokefree.""
The study How many deaths are caused by second hand cigarette smoke? by Alistair Woodward of the Department of Public Health, Wellington School of Medicine, and Murray Laugesen, Health New Zealand, was published in Tobacco Control, 1 December 2001; Vol. 10, No. 4
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