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The level of air pollution in British pubs - caused by cigarette smoking - is 10 to 40 times more than pollution levels on crowded roadways, according to research conducted at the University of Manchester and reported by the Israel Cancer Association (ICA) this week.
The researchers, who published their study in the latest issue of BMC Public Health, said the average level of pollutants in the pubs was 285 grams per cubic meter of air, compared to only 25 grams near a busy street. The US Environmental Protection Authority has said a level of 150 grams is "very unhealthful" and more than 250 grams per cubic meter is "dangerous" for humans.
Another study conducted in Denver, Colorado, studied pollution levels due to cigarette smoking in a casino, six pubs and a billiard hall before and after the passage of laws prohibiting smoking in workplaces - which, unlike Israel's strict laws, is rigorously enforced.
There too, pollution levels in the places of entertainment were 20 times those on roadways with high traffic. After the laws went into effect, air pollution in these establishments dropped by 90%.
The ICA concluded that it is much more dangerous to one's health to be a bartender or a casino card dealer than to collect tolls on a highway. This study was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
ICA chairman Prof. Eliezer Robinson said the two studies corroborated the growing body of medical testimony supporting laws that bar smoking in workplaces and public places.
"Passive smoking is forced smoking on non-smokers, and the amount of toxic pollution inhaled by them is similar to that inhaled by smokers into their own lungs."
Israel will mark World No-Smoking Day on May 31.