Air Pollution Is Killing More People Than Smoking Tobacco: Study

Smoking killed about 2 million fewer people than air pollution in 2015.

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)
By Chase Hill / March 14, 2019 5:00 am

The World Health Organization (WHO) says that smoking kills about 7 million people each year- almost two million less than the 8.8 million deaths caused by air pollution.

European researchers found that air pollution caused about 790,000 deaths in Europe. Heart attacks and strokes make up between 40 and 80 percent of the deaths.

“Since most of the particulate matter and other air pollutants in Europe come from the burning of fossil fuels, we need to switch to other sources for generating energy urgently,” the study’s co-author Professor Jos Lelieveld from the Cyprus Institute Nicosia in Cyprus, said.

“When we use clean, renewable energy, we are not just fulfilling the Paris Agreement to mitigate the effects of climate change, we could also reduce air pollution-related death rates in Europe by up to 55 percent.”

Around the globe, for every 100,000 people air pollution causes an extra 120 deaths. In Europe that rate is even higher- 200 in every 100,000.

“This means that air pollution causes more extra deaths a year than tobacco smoking, which the World Health Organization estimates was responsible for an extra 7.2 million deaths in 2015,” Thomas Munzel, the study’s senior author explained.

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