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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 May, 2003, 06:38 GMT 07:38 UK
Gadget keeps tabs on smoke
Media Lab Europe's smoking monitoring system
A fumatorium has been set up in the lab to simulate smoking
A device that allows people to monitor the damage passive smoking is doing to them could add fuel to the debate over whether smoking should be banned in public places.

Dublin-based researchers at the Media Lab Europe are developing a wearable gadget that takes readings of the amount of carbon monoxide and other particles given off by cigarette smoke.

It will allow people, especially those that work in smoky environments, to see how much damage passive smoking is doing them.

"Once a bartender knows how much he is inhaling, it might change his opinion on a ban," Jamie Rasmussen, a researcher at Media Lab Europe told the BBC's Go Digital programme.

Smoking debate

Jamie Rasmussen shows off the gadget
The gadget could prove controversial in smoke-filled rooms
At the moment, the researchers are using a handheld computer that can provide readings of the level of noxious substances being inhaled.

But they are looking at using different techniques to tell people in detail how much damage is being done to their lungs.

People could also find out how the amount of smoke is affecting their skin and even what their life expectancy is after a week's or month's worth of passive smoking.

The device is particularly timely because the Irish Government is considering banning cigarette smoking from pubs and restaurants.

Other countries are also looking at tobacco bans and the group has presented its device to the World Health Organisation.

Calls to ban smoking in pubs
18 May 03  |  Devon
Row over passive smoking effect
16 May 03  |  Health
Call for restaurant smoking ban
11 Apr 03  |  Politics
Call to curb smoking in public
11 Apr 03  |  Scotland

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