NEWS

Passive smokers seek their rights, backed by data

Smokers are the butt of a campaign by the European Commission to protect other people from becoming passive smokers, given the record 50,000 deaths in the eurozone last year from passive smoking. In Greece, 45 percent of male and 37 percent of female non-smokers are exposed to cigarette smoke at least once a day. According to the European Anti-Smoking Organization, smokers inhale only 15 percent of the smoke from a cigarette. The rest is inhaled by those around them. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, of which at least 50 have been shown to be carcinogenic and over 100 are toxic. Some of these dangerous substances are more concentrated in the smoke from a cigarette than in that inhaled by smokers themselves. Yet 85 percent of Greeks do not believe in the harmful effects of passive smoking. The World Health Organization has classified passive smoking as among the basic factors in the development of cancer, since it has been shown that even low levels of non-voluntary exposure to a smoking environment can cause lung cancer in people who have not smoked. Passive smoking is very harmful to the heart; studies have shown that non-smokers who live with smokers have a 25 percent higher chance of coronary disease than those who live in a smoke-free environment.