There is a triple threat in the Asian air to human health and well-being. First, we are going to see an increase in tobacco-attributable deaths as more and more people smoke. Much of this mortality, as well as crippling chronic lung disease, can be prevented if smokers stop smoking. Secondly, additional suffering, disability and premature death from lung disease can be prevented if pollution - Asian pollution being the worst in the world - can be reduced. And lastly, the coughing, wheezing and attacks of bronchitis caused by the uniquely Asian problem of the haze would be eliminated if the illegal practice of slash & burn is prohibited.
Anthony Rebuck is a former professor of medicine, epidemiology, and biostatistics. He practiced respiratory medicine at the University of Toronto and at the Toronto Lung Clinic before moving to Singapore in 1999. Since that time he has been involved in managing clinical research projects in the Asia Pacific region.