One already suspected it, but researchers today can definitively confirm the theory that breathing the air in some of the world’s biggest cities is not good for your health. According to a study published by the non-profit European Federation for Transport and Environment, breathing the air in Paris for four days has the same effect as smoking two cigarettes. If one spreads this out over a whole year, the alarming figure becomes the equivalent of smoking 183 cigarettes.
The French capital is far from being the only culprit. In several large European cities, the air quality has also begun to deteriorate. Researchers say that spending four days in Barcelona or Dublin is the equivalent of smoking one cigarette. London also qualifies with the equivalent of 2.75 cigarettes smoked in the space of four days spent there.
But there is even worse city air to breathe. For a stay of the same duration, in Milan, it is the equivalent of 3 cigarettes, while in Istanbul and Prague the number rises up to 4.
To reach these conclusions, the experts measured the median level of particles between a week in August (during the heatwave) in order to convert the figure into a ‘cigarette equivalent,’ and breathing 22 micrograms / m3 of fine particles has the same effects on the lungs as smoking.
So it looks like finding a replacement for smoking or quitting smoking entirely may not be the only big change to make to live a long and healthy life.