In 2015 the scientists created a method to show people that air pollution control is a really considerable problem nowadays. This method compares the health impacts of environmental air pollution with that of cigarettes. According to the research, Delhi’s air is equivalent to smoking 10 to 15 cigarettes every day.
Thanks to the numerous medical researches, mass media, and antismoking campaigns, we know that smoking is damaging to health. As for the health impacts of air pollution, it is quite hard to explain its impact considering the complex nature of particulate pollutants. That is why this method clearly demonstrates the health impacts of air pollution.
At the beginning of this century, a prominent researcher estimated the air pollution rates in Beijing. He compared the weight of PM 2.5 inhaled from a cigarette to that of the air. According to the results, the air pollution level was equivalent to smoking 0.3 cigarettes a day. However, specialists say that these calculations underestimate the particulate pollutant matter present in the air. PM 2.5 is a mixture of direct emissions from industries and contains many substances that are more harmful to health.
Through extensive research in 2015, the scientists made approximate calculations of the particulate pollutant matter (PM 2.5) to cigarette equivalent. The calculations demonstrated that the health impacts of a day’s exposure to PM 2.5 are equivalent to that from smoking one cigarette. In terms of annual average, cigarette equivalent means that the cities’ residents have a health impact identical to smoking as many cigarettes every day of the year.
However, we need to understand that smoking and air pollution are different in nature. We can compare them by the health impacts but we also need to consider their extent. From a public health perspective, both these problems are important. Smoking affects directly a person and people around. The air pollution issue differs because people can’t choose the air to breathe in their community. Air pollution control strategies are more for society, while smoking is a personal decision.
Despite all the debates among scientists about the aspects of comparison, it is important that we admit the health risk from these two problems and aim to find air treatment solutions.
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