Passive smoking may be much more harmful that you thought. Researchers have found that people who are exposed to passive smoke are exposed to 16 times higher than the background level. The study has found that smoking on city street footpaths increases the amount of dangerous fine particulates many times in the air. The five-week-long study used a sensitive air monitor to measure air quality at a shopping centre as they passed 284 people who were smoking on the footpaths.
They found that when smokers were observed, at an average distance of 2.6 metres, there was an average of 70 percent more fine particulates in the air (PM2.5 or less than 2.5 mm in diameter) than when there were no smokers around. When standing next to a smoker at a bus stop, the mean fine particulate pollution level was 16 times the background level, with a peak of 26 times the background level.
Although the problem of smoking on streets is being addressed with a growing number of cities successfully adopting smoke-free policies for at least some outdoor parts of shopping areas. However, the fact that the city administration had not taken into account shopping areas policies should be put in place to protect the common man. Other likely benefits of smoke-free streets could be decreased street cleaning costs from less cigarette butt litter, a better public image for a city and the reduction of second-hand smoke drifting into shops and offices.