New research measured secondhand tobacco smoke in cars and found pollution levels that are hazardous to children?and to you. Two years ago, we reported that, contrary to popular opinion, smoking can MAKE you fat. Now it’s been discovered that People who are both very obese and who smoke increase their risk of death by 3.5 to 5 times. We also know that second hand smoke kills?and that includes the smoke inside the automobiles of people who smoke.

Harvard health researcher Vaughan Rees, who conducted the study, says, “Common sense tells you if you smoke in a pretty confined space, such as a car, without ventilation, there?s going to be a lot of secondhand smoke which is potentially dangerous, but before this study we had no idea what sorts of levels of secondhand smoke were generated. And we had no way of comparing that with other studies that have looked at secondhand smoke levels in other indoor environments like bars and restaurants.”

During 45 driving trials, the researchers strapped a pollution monitor into a child-safety seat, and then asked a smoker-volunteer to light up at different times along the near hour-long route. The road tests were conducted under two different ventilation conditions: all car windows rolled down, then with just the driver?s side window cracked about two inches, and found that unhealthy levels of secondhand smoke built up during all of these conditions.

According to a recent study in a medical journal, 20% of obese adults in the United States smoke, which , which puts them at an even higher risk of death caused by cancer and circulatory disease than either smoking or obesity alone would.

While it’s up to us to change, we?re not totally responsible for our bad habits, which are encouraged by big business interests. Health educator Susan J. Curry says, “We have long known that education and information are not sufficient for health behavior change. We need to communicate realistic and achievable goals, and we need to help people understand that they are not solely responsible for their increased risk. The tobacco industry and food industry?contribute greatly to an environment that promotes unhealthful behaviors such as tobacco use and unhealthful eating.”

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