What is indoor air quality?
Indoor air quality, often abbreviated as IAQ, refers to the quality of the air inside buildings. The impact of our smoke-free products’ use on indoor air quality is an important element of our scientific assessment program when developing these novel products.
Indoor air quality depends on concentrations of a broad spectrum of chemical and biological pollutants. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) describes air quality as acceptable when no known contaminants – at harmful concentrations – are present, and when 80% or more people exposed to it do not express dissatisfaction. Indoor air quality can be influenced by many sources. Common pollutants include contaminated outdoor air, emissions from building materials, furniture and furnishings, heating and ventilation systems, indoor activities like cooking or cleaning, and even people themselves.
How does cigarette smoke affect indoor air quality?
Secondhand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke, impacts indoor air quality. It is a combination of the smoke that the user exhales after taking a puff from a cigarette (mainstream smoke) and what comes from the lit tip of the cigarette while no one is puffing on it (sidestream smoke). Cigarette smoke is a mixture of more than 6,000 chemicals that are mainly formed or released by the burning and high temperature pyrolysis of tobacco. Cigarette smoke also contains solid carbon-based particles.
Public health authorities, including the World Health Organization, have concluded that secondhand smoke causes diseases, including lung cancer and heart disease, in nonsmoking adults, as well as conditions in children such as asthma, respiratory infections, and sudden infant death syndrome. In addition, public health officials have concluded that secondhand smoke can exacerbate adult asthma and cause eye, throat, and nasal irritation.
The public should be informed about these conclusions and guided by them in deciding whether to be in places where secondhand smoke is present or, if they are smokers, when and where to smoke around others. Smokers should not smoke around children or pregnant women.