Reducing exposure to wood smoke can increase life expectancy

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Reducing a person’s exposure to wood or biomass smoke can help increase their life expectancy, according to a new study.

The research, published in the British Medical Journal, found a significant link between reductions in exposure to this type of smoke with an increase in male life expectancy.

The study analysed a community education program, environmental regulation enforcement and a program of wood heater replacement in a city in Tasmania,  Australia. The researchers assessed air pollution levels and mortality in the community over 6.5 years. They compared these to another city in Australia with no air regulations or education programs.

Between 2001 and 2007 in the Tasmanian city, there were significant reductions in death from all causes, death from heart problems and death from lung problems in men of 11.4%, 17.9%, and 22.8%, respectively.

“Our findings highlight the potential for important public health gains from interventions to reduce pollution from biomass smoke,” conclude the authors.

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