Major new study shows secondhand smoke leading workplace killer



Wednesday 02 March 2005

Media Release from ASH

Embargo: 10.00hrs Wednesday 2nd March 2005

 

 MAJOR NEW STUDY SHOWS SECONDHAND SMOKE LEADING WORKPLACE KILLER

 

Exposure to secondhand smoke is a major workplace killer, a major new study published in the British Medical Journal reveals today [1].

 

Professor Konrad Jamrozik of the University of Queensland estimates that exposure to secondhand smoke in the workplace:

·        causes 54 premature deaths each year among hospitality industry employees – or more than one a week

·        causes more than 600 deaths each year across the UK.

 

For comparison, the total number of fatal accidents at work from all causes in the UK in 2003/4 was reported by the Health and Safety Executive as 235 (see http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/index.htm).

 

ASH Director Deborah Arnott commented:

 

“These shocking figures show yet again the urgent need for a new law to end smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public places. There can be no justification whatever for continuing to expose employees and members of the public to such a serious and readily avoidable health and safety risk.

 

The new law must be comprehensive – although the White Paper on public health was a big step forward, the plans to exempt many pubs and private clubs cannot stand. Professor Jamrozik’s work shows how serious the threat may be to staff in such places – there can be no justification for refusing them the same legal protection as everybody else.”

 

– ENDS –

 

Notes

 

1. “Estimate of Deaths Among Adults in the United Kingdom Attributable to Passive Smoking”: BMJ/2004/227587, by Konrad Jamrozik MBBS DPhil FAFPHM MFPH ILTM, Professor of Evidence-Based Health Care, University of Queensland.

 

CONTACT:          Ian Willmore (ASH)     020 7739 5902 (w) 07887 641344 (m)