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Fewer people exposed to secondhand smoke

The number of people exposed to secondhand smoke in Switzerland continues to dwindle, the Federal Health Office reported on Monday.

Last year about one-sixth of the population, or 15 per cent, was exposed to passive smoke for at least seven hours per week. In 2002 the rate was about 35 per cent.

Young adults are particularly exposed, a Health Office survey found, with 40 per cent of people aged 20-24 suffering the highest rate. The figure dropped to 29 per cent for youths aged 14-19.

Restaurants, cafes and bars remain the places where people are most likely to breathe passive smoke, with about 60 per cent of people exposed to it in these establishments. Smoking bans have helped to bring that rate down from 81 per cent in 2001.

According to the Health Office, 75 per cent of the population were in favour of a smoking ban that began last year in restaurants, cafes and bars. Twenty-one per cent of smokers said they were smoking less because of the ban and other rules that reduce lighting up in the workplace.

A nationwide survey on passive smoking has been carried out annually since 2001. It is funded by an anti-tobacco group.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR