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Study Highlights Poor Air Quality in Smokers’ Homes

October 23, 2014
Public Health

A study of PM2.5 levels in smokers’ homes by researchers at Aberdeen University has highlighted the dangers of poor indoor air quality. In some homes they tested in the Townhead region of Glasgow, results were seven times higher than those measured alongside the nearby M8 motorway.

The researchers used data from four linked studies in Scotland between 2009 and 2013 with real-time measurements of PM2.5 in homes, combining them with data regarding typical breathing rates and time-activity. Three of the studies used a personal aerosol monitor that was placed in the main living area of participants’ homes for a period of 24 hours while the other study used a new, low-cost, particle-counting device. Scientists also discovered that it takes approximately three and three quarter hours for chemicals in second-hand smoke to return to background levels after the last cigarette is extinguished.

Dr Sean Semple, who worked on the study, said, “These results show the serious impact on air quality if people choose to smoke in the home. Levels of fine particles that are proven to be harmful to health are many times higher in homes where smoking takes place. The only way to keep levels of particle pollution down is to take your smoking right outside.”

The research was carried out as part of the Scottish government’s target to reduce the number of children exposed to second-hand smoke in the home from 12% to 6% by 2020.

You can view the study here