New figures to be presented at a Royal College of Physicians (RCP) conference today will show that every week in the UK one hospitality industry employee dies from passive smoking at work. The new figures, calculated by Professor Konrad Jamrozik of Imperial College in London, will be presented at the RCP conference called ‘Environmental Tobacco Smoke and the Hospitality Industry’.
Professor Jamrozik has calculated the figures from the numbers of employees in the hospitality industry, their exposure to tobacco smoke and their likely risk of dying as a result. Passive smoking at work is estimated to cause 49 deaths each year in hospitality industry employees – twice as many as from domestic exposure in this group. He also estimates that environmental tobacco smoke in the workplace generally causes about 700 deaths each year in the UK. This startling figure is unacceptable and could be completely prevented by making all indoor public places and workplaces smokefree.
At the Conference the RCP will repeat its call for comprehensive smokefree policies, one that was backed last November by all the Royal Colleges of Medicine and gained the support of the Royal College of Nursing at their annual conference a few days ago. College President Professor Carol Black said: “Environmental tobacco smoke in pubs, bars, restaurants and other public places is seriously damaging to the health of employees as well as the general public. Making these places smokefree not only protects vulnerable staff and the public, it will also help over 300,000 people in Britain to stop smoking completely.”
Professor Jamrozik has also calculated that at least 3,600 people below the age of 65 die each year from lung cancer, heart disease and stroke caused by passive smoking at home. These newly calculated figures are an attempt to provide more accurate estimates than before, and to dispel the myth that there is little harm from passive smoking.
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