Air pollution: how many cigarettes does each Pole ‘smoke’ every year and how does it influence health, with special respect to lung cancer?
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Chair and Department of Thoracic Surgery, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
Department of Thoracic Surgery, Holy Cross Cancer Centre, Kielce, Poland
Independent Public Clinical Hospital No. 4, Lublin, Poland
Department of Emergency Medicine, Medical University, Lublin, Poland
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Children’s University Hospital, Lublin, Poland
Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
Corresponding author
Robert Chudzik   

Chair and Department of Thoracic Surgery, Medical University of Lublin, Poland
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2019;26(4):566-571
Air pollution is one of the most important issues of our times. Air quality assessment is based on the measurement of the concentration of substances formed during the combustion process and micro-particles suspended in the air in the form of an aerosol. Microscopic atmospheric particulate matters (PM) 2.5 and 10 are mixtures of organic and inorganic pollutants smaller than 2.5 and 10 µm, respectively. They are the main cause of negative phenomena in the earth’s atmosphere of Earth and human health, especially on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. Particulates have the ability to cause permanent mutations of tissue, leading to neoplasms and even premature deaths. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is one of the main pollutants which arises mainly during the burning of fossil fuels. Based on numerous scientific researches, it has been proved that long-term exposure to NO2 could increase morbidity of cancer due to inflammatory processes increasing abnormal mutations.

Material and methods:
Data available in the Polish National Cancer Registry, Chief Inspectorate for Environmental Protection and Map of Health Needs in the Field of Oncology for Poland, WHO Air Quality Guidelines 2005 were analyzed. Air pollution was also evaluated: PM2.5, PM10, NO2, and compared with lung cancer morbidity.

Results and conclusions:
Based on the available data and literature, it can be concluded that in 2009–2017, on average, each Pole smoked ten cigarettes a day +/- 2. Therefore, it can be estimated that after 60 years everyone had 30 package-years of smoking, leading to a high risk of lung cancer and other smoking related diseases. Additionally air quality in Poland is not satisfactory, exceeding the standards presented in the WHO Guidelines 2005. It can be assumed that this may translate into an additional, independent continuous increase in morbidity and mortality dependent on smoking.

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