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Cigarette smoking is probably the most damaging of all voluntary human behaviour. Half of all smokers die prematurely as a consequence of their own smoking,1 and in 1995 in the UK alone smoking accounted for over 120 000 deaths, of which about 65 000 were due to respiratory disease.2 In addition to the harm caused to smokers themselves, passive exposure of other adults to cigarette smoke is associated with increased respiratory morbidity3 and an increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease,4 5 whilst children brought up by parents who smoke are more likely to experience lower respiratory illness in infancy,6 sudden infant death,7and middle ear disease, wheezy bronchitis and exacerbation of asthma in childhood.8-10 In addition to these direct effects of tobacco smoke, cigarette smoking affects health indirectly through the cost to the individual of sustaining their smoking habit, which contributes to financial hardship and consequent deprivation of smokers and their dependents. The total social, economic, and health related cost to society of smoking is enormous, and prevention of smoking therefore deserves to …
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