A new study led by World Health Organization researchers found passive smoking or secondhand smoke kills about 600,000 people worldwide each year. Overall, tobacco smoking kills an estimated 5.1 million people worldwide each year.
Passive smoking causes 379,000 deaths from heart disease, 165,000 deaths from lower respiratory infections, 36,900 deaths from asthma and 21,400 lung cancer deaths.
Annette Pruss-Ustun of the WHO in Geneva and colleagues reported their study in the Lancet journal that two-thirds of the passive-smoking induced deaths occur in Africa and south Asia.
Children are more heavily exposed to passive smoking, which mostly likely occurs in the home, than any other age group and about 165,000 children die each year because of secondhand smoke.