This calculator shows you just how much carcinogenic benzo[a]pyrene you inhale just by living in polluted cities. Simply pick a city from the list and see how many cigarettes you'd have smoke in order to inhale an equal dose. Although the actual dose changes depending on the number of hours spent outdoors and indoors, you'll quickly realize those changes are pretty small. If you're (unfortunate enough to) live in one of the most affected cities you smoke all those cigarettes even if you stay home all day long. Sorry about that.
The City Air To Cigarettes calculator was made together with Krakowski Alarm Smogowy (Krakow Smog Alert) as part of our mission to help various NGOs raise awareness of what they're trying to achieve. KAS is an awesome group of miracle makers. A few years ago nobody really cared about the smog in Krakow, nowdays everybody is talking about it. Thanks to the battle they started we've had both national and local legislations passed making it possible to solve the problem (for example, it will be illegal to burn solid fuels from 2019 onwards). The conceptual foundation for the calculator was built by Anna Sokulska. Magda Kozłowska came up with the idea and handled everything on Alarm's side.
Formulas, assumptions and data sources
The train of thought is fairly straightforward:
- An average adult person inhales 20m3 of air per day.
- City air contains a certain concentration of benzo[a]pyrene.
- The air indoors is 10% cleaner.
- Putting all 3 above together, we can calculate how much b[a]p is inhaled in a given period of time.
- We know that an average cigarette contains XX nanograms of b[a]p. This is how much we'd have in the sidestream smoke - it's the one that passes from the cigarette into the surrounding air, not into the smoker's lungs.
- The mainstream smoke is several times less dangerous (it is filtered to some extent).
- We have an amount that we inhaled with the city air in a certain period of time and an amount that we'd inhale if we smoked one cigarette. Divide one by the other and we have the end result - how many cigarettes we'd have to smoke in order to inhale the same amount as we do by breathing the polluted city air.
We prefilled the tool with average b(a)p concentration from nearly 60 cities around Europe and US. We gathered those number thanks to Krakowski Alarm Smogowy, European Environment Agency and Proceedings of the Second International Clean Air Congress book.