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Report shows majority Chinese women exposed to secondhand smoke

November 6, 2012

A recent report issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that almost two-thirds of women who are of reproductive age in China are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke at home. In addition, more than half inhale secondhand smoke while in the workplace, which can cause a series of health issues, especially to those who are pregnant, according to Reuters.

The research, which was compiled from a survey issued in China in 2010, was released by WHO, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in China and the United States. In China, approximately 100,000 people die from secondhand smoke exposure each year, and 1 million are assumed to die from smoking themselves, according to the news source.

This is especially prevalent in women who live in rural areas of China, as nearly three out of every four women in this area deal with secondhand smoke while at home. This is compared to just over half of women in urban areas who can say the same, the media outlet reports.

"There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke. Creating 100 percent smoke-free environments is the only way to protect people from the harmful effects of secondhand tobacco smoke," Michael O'Leary, WHO representative in China, told the news source. "Tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure in reproductive-aged women can cause adverse reproductive health outcomes, such as pregnancy complications, fetal growth restriction, preterm delivery, stillbirths, and infant death."

Not only does this affect a woman's chance of giving birth to a healthy child, but there are a host of different diseases in which secondhand smoke can increase the risk of a person developing it, according to the American Cancer Society.

For instance, there has been links to secondhand smoking increasing the risk of breast cancer as well as lung cancer and lower respiratory tract infections. Children who are exposed to it are more like to be put into intensive care when they have the flu and are likely to stay in the hospital longer over children who have not been exposed to it. Asthma also worsens in those exposed to secondhand smoke.

Those who want to talk about the dangers of secondhand smoke can make calls to China using international calling cards

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