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BMJ. 2005 Apr 9;330(7495):812. Epub 2005 Mar 1.

Estimate of deaths attributable to passive smoking among UK adults: database analysis.

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  • 1School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland 4006, Australia.



To estimate deaths from passive smoking in employees of the hospitality industry as well as in the general workforce and general population of the United Kingdom.


Calculation, using the formula for population attributable proportion, of deaths likely to have been caused by passive smoking at home and at work in the UK according to occupation. Sensitivity analyses to examine impact of varying assumptions regarding prevalence and risks of exposure.


National UK databases of causes of death, employment, structure of households, and prevalences of active and passive smoking.


Estimates of deaths due to passive smoking according to age group (< 65 or > or = 65) and site of exposure (domestic or workplace).


Across the United Kingdom as a whole, passive smoking at work is likely to be responsible for the deaths of more than two employed people per working day (617 deaths per year), including 54 deaths in the hospitality industry each year. Each year passive smoking at home might account for another 2700 deaths in persons aged 20-64 years and 8000 deaths among people aged > or = 65.


Exposure at work might contribute up to one fifth of all deaths from passive smoking in the general population aged 20-64 years, and up to half of such deaths among employees of the hospitality industry. Adoption of smoke free policies in all workplaces and reductions in the general prevalence of active smoking would lead to substantial reductions in these avoidable deaths.

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