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Smokers' Cars Loaded With Nicotine
Date:8/24/2009

Levels twice those found in places that permit smoking, study suggests,,

MONDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Passengers riding in the cars of smokers are exposed to nicotine levels nearly twice those found in restaurants and bars that permit smoking, a new study suggests.

The dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke are well known, including the risk for heart and respiratory disease, and have led to laws banning smoking in many public places. Many anti-smoking advocates believe the next frontier in the fight against secondhand smoke is in cars.

"These levels of exposure are unacceptable for nonsmoking passengers, particularly children, who are at increased risk for secondhand smoke-related health problems," said study co-author Patrick Breysse, director of the Division of Environmental Health Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Breysse and his co-author Dr. Ana Navas-Acien, an assistant professor of occupational and environmental health at Hopkins, believe that smoking should be banned in cars as it has been in other places.

"The high secondhand tobacco smoke levels measured in this study support the urgent need for smoke-free education campaigns and legislative measures banning smoking in motor vehicles when passengers, especially children, are present," Navas-Acien said.

The report is published in the Aug. 25 online edition of Tobacco Control.

For the study, Breysse and Navas-Acien compared nicotine levels in the cars of 17 smokers and five nonsmokers whose commute to and from work took 30 minutes or longer. The researchers placed airborne nicotine samplers in the cars, one near the front passenger seat headrest and another in the back seat behind the driver.

The researchers then analyzed the samples and found a twofold increase in concentrations of nicotine for every cigarette smoked.

Navas-Acien and Breysse estim
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