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Lung cancer: number of deaths from secondhand smoke has decreased
Smoking not only endangers your own health, but also the health of others. Hundreds of Germans die from the smoke every year, even though they don't smoke themselves. However, a new study shows that the number of deaths from passive smoking has decreased.
Smoking also puts people at risk
Smoking not only harms your own health, it is also dangerous for others. According to older international data from the World Health Organization (WHO), passive smoking kills 600,000 people annually. Studies have shown that passive smoke can mainly cause heart diseases such as heart attacks, respiratory diseases such as asthma and lung cancer. In Germany, however, the number of deaths from lung cancer due to secondhand smoke has decreased significantly over the past 20 years.
Fewer lung cancer deaths from secondhand smoke
Passive smokers, like smokers, have an increased risk of developing lung cancer. However, the number of deaths from lung cancer due to passive smoking has decreased over the past 20 years despite a generally aging population.
Scientists at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) have determined this in a study that they published in the specialist journal "International Journal of Public Health".
A study was used as a comparison, which the UKE study leader Prof. Dr. Heiko Becher had already carried out the current figures on this subject in 1994, according to a statement.
The researchers assume that the decline is due to the increased protection of non-smokers since then.
More could be done with non-smoking protection
Improved protection against non-smokers prevents numerous deaths. However, Germany could do much more here.
"When it comes to tobacco control, we are one of the last places in Europe," said Prof. Heino Stöver from the Institute for Addiction Research at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS) in a message.
“In addition, comparatively little is done in Germany for effective tobacco prevention. Germany is the only country in Europe that still allows unrestricted tobacco advertising, that shouldn't be, ”said the expert.
Experts are repeatedly demanding a ban on tobacco advertising. According to the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Germany is still a paradise for smokers.
Number of lung cancer deaths from passive smoking more than halved
According to the UKE, around 47,000 people died of lung cancer in 2012. Among them were around 41,000 smokers and thus around 6,000 non-smokers.
Based on these figures, the scientists calculated that 7.6 percent of male and 4.7 percent of female lung cancer deaths among non-smokers are due to secondhand smoke.
“According to our estimates, 167 lung cancer deaths per year can be attributed to passive smoking. This number has dropped significantly compared to 1994, when it was 400, ”said Prof. Heiko Becher.
The study leader continued: “Despite the aging of the population and a consequent increase in cancer deaths overall, there are significantly fewer deaths from lung cancer due to passive smoking than there were 20 years ago. This positive trend should be strengthened by further measures in the area of non-smoking protection. "
In total, a quarter of non-smoking women and around 40 percent of non-smoking men were exposed to secondhand smoke in 2012.
In 1994, when a risk assessment of passive smoking was carried out in Germany, about 60 percent of men and 70 percent of women were still exposed to passive smoke, i.e. they were exposed to cigarette smoke through their smoking partner, at work or during their leisure time. (ad)