The indoor smoking industry has been one of the biggest drivers of the nation’s health woes, with one in three adults reporting a daily smokeless tobacco use.
But while the industry has a reputation for creating more indoor environments for smokers, the reality is that indoor smoking has little or no impact on the amount of indoor pollution, according to a new study by researchers at MIT and Duke University.
While the study finds indoor smoking to be a major driver of air pollution, the researchers found that even small indoor smokestacks can be an effective way to reduce indoor pollution and contribute to air quality improvements.
“Our findings indicate that the indoor smoking phenomenon can be a useful tool to improve indoor air quality,” the authors of the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, write.
“For example, we show that small indoor smokeless and smokeless indoor grill smokers, who can reduce their indoor air pollution by 20 percent, could significantly reduce their risk of indoor asthma, as measured by a AQI of 6 or more.”
According to the authors, the findings suggest that indoor smokers can reduce indoor air emissions by up to 40 percent if they adopt a “smoke-free lifestyle.”
The study’s co-author, Andrew K. Kost, a doctoral candidate in the department of public health at MIT, said in a statement that indoor smoke-free practices can also help to reduce the amount and concentration of indoor pollutants, such as particulate matter, that contribute to the overall health and economic impact of air quality.
“If we can make indoor smoking less harmful, we can also make indoor air cleaner,” Kost said.
“Smoking indoors, even in a small place, is not always safe, so we need to do our best to limit its use.”