The estimated number of deaths worldwide that can be attributed to second-hand tobacco smoke exposure has gone down, even though about 880,000 people die from it every year, a new study revealed on Tuesday.

“The number of individuals who die from passive smoking has gone down from 1990 to 2016, but the rate is still high,’’ the study said.

Globally, there are about 1 billion smokers.

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The report says the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 880,000 people who do not smoke die prematurely every year as a result of exposure to second-hand smoke.

The study looked at individuals who smoked for a mean of 24 years and how they are responsible for the death of one individual who died of exposure to second-hand smoke.

“Globally, in 1990, just 31.3 smokers led to the death of a non-smoker through second-hand smoke exposure, whereas by 2016, it took 52.3 smokers to cause the death of one non-smoker.

“The estimated absolute number of individuals who died of second-hand exposure had decreased from about 946,000 in 1990 to approximately 848,000 in 2006.

“But it started to gradually increase thereafter to 883,000 in 2016,’’ the study said.

According to the researchers, the increase was mainly associated with the increase in deaths in South Asia, East Asia and the Pacific.

The study conducted by the researchers at the Amsterdam University Medical Centre in The Netherlands was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Public health experts consider tobacco use as the number one preventable cause of death worldwide, contributing to six million deaths every year.

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