About 1.65 lakh children die before the age of 5 due to lower respiratory infections caused by second hand smoke (SHS) globally and those who live on into adulthood continue to suffer and are at risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), says the World Health Organisation (WHO) in a press release issued on Thursday.

Young children who are exposed to SHS at home have high incidence of respiratory problems such as asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis, ear infection, repeat episodes of cough and colds and frequent lower respiratory infections, the release states. Every year, the WHO and global partners observe World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on May 31 and people are made aware about the ill-effects of tobacco and discourage them from using tobacco in any form. The theme on WNTD this year is “tobacco and lung health”, the release states.

As per the World Health Organisation, smoking is responsible for two-thirds of lung cancer deaths globally. Consuming tobacco causes tuberculosis, COPD, asthma, respiratory problems and cold, apart from lung cancer.

Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital deputy director Dr Pankaj Chaturvedi said smoking or exposure to SHS by pregnant woman can reduce the lung growth and its function in foetus, can lead to miscarriage, premature birth of the baby and even sudden infant death syndrome.