Wellingdon: If you stand next to someone smoking at
a bus stop, there are fair chances that you'll be exposed to fine
particulate pollution nearly 16 times higher than the background
level, says a study.
The study conducted by the University of Otago, New Zealand, has
found that smoking on city street footpaths increases the amount
of dangerous fine particulates many times in the air.
The five-week-long study used a sensitive air monitor to measure
air quality at a shopping centre as they passed 284 people who
were smoking on the footpaths, the journal Health & Place reports.
They found that when smokers were observed, at an average distance
of 2.6 metres, there was an average 70 percent more fine
particulates in the air (PM2.5 or less than 2.5 mm in diameter)
than when there were no smokers around, according to an Otago
When standing next to a smoker at a bus stop, the mean fine
particulate pollution level was 16 times the background level,
with a peak of 26 times the background level.
George Thomson, researcher from Otago, pointed out that the
problem of smoking on streets is being addressed with a growing
number of cities successfully adopting smoke-free policies for at
least some outdoor parts of shopping areas.
However, study co-author and associate professor Nick Wilson says
that city administration should do more to help protect the health
of pedestrians by implementing the smoke-free policies in shopping
Other likely benefits of smoke-free streets could be decreased
street cleaning costs from less cigarette butt litter, a better
public image for a city and the reduction of second-hand smoke
drifting into shops and offices, the study said.