Intended for healthcare professionals


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

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 07 April 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:812
  1. Konrad Jamrozik (k.jamrozik{at}, professor of evidence based healthcare1
  1. 1 School of Population Health, University of Queensland, Herston, Queensland 4006, Australia
  1. Correspondence to:
  • Accepted 14 January 2005


Objective 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.

Design 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.

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

Main outcome measures Estimates of deaths due to passive smoking according to age group (< 65 or ≥ 65) and site of exposure (domestic or workplace).

Results 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 ≥ 65.

Conclusion 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.


  • Contributors KJ is the sole author.

  • Funding None.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethical approval Not required.

  • Accepted 14 January 2005
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