Hesperian Health Guides
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We all need clean air to breathe. But too much smoke in our houses from burning wood, dung, and other fuels for cooking or heating causes health problems, especially for children and women, who usually spend more time indoors. Breathing a lot of smoky air makes it easier for children to develop tuberculosis (TB) and pneumonia, diseases that kill many children with HIV.
To lessen the smoke in your house, improve ventilation (how the air moves), make your stove less smokey, and use cleaner fuels.
Tobacco smoke from cigarettes, pipes, and cigars is also harmful for children (and others) when they are exposed to a lot of it, especially indoors.
Urban air pollution
Air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, diesel, and gasoline) adds toxic chemicals and tiny particles like soot to the air we breathe, especially in or near big cities. Breathing polluted air is hard on our lungs and leads to more colds, flu, bronchitis and other infections of the lungs, including pneumonia and TB. Breathing polluted air also makes us tired, gives us headaches, and makes breathing problems worse.
The World Health Organization says 3 million people die each year because of air pollution. In many countries, social movements to stop using fossil fuels are growing, both to protect our immediate health by reducing pollution and to protect long-term health by stopping climate change.