# Comparing train station pollution with smoking

A research done in my city's main train station showed 400,000 UFP particles per cubic centimetre.

I am looking into printing pamphlets and wanted to inquire how does spending half an hour in a 400,000/cm^3 environment compare with smoking when it comes to lungs damage. It can be a rough estimation, something along the lines of: "Spending half an hour in those conditions is equivalent to smoking 5 cigarettes".

• Thanks for adding a link to the report! I was wondering where exactly you got the 400,000 PM2.5/cm2 from because I don't see any PM2.5 measurements in the English part of the report. Only NOx and UFP measurements. Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 12:26
• You are probably right. The 400,000 figure is mentioned on page 45 on the second graph, in the first carriage of a train in pull mode. The axis says "Average UFP per cm^3".
– Guy
Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 17:18
• The first table on page 55 has the figure regarding pollution on the station. Point 2 averaged 194,154 per cm^3 or roughly 200K per cm^3. I am wondering how can I explain those number in common language to spread awareness.
– Guy
Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 17:21

On average, smoking one cigarette results in inhalation of roughly 600 billion ultrafine particles (UFP).

From a joint research study by universities in Lebanon, the U.S., and France: "Comparison of carcinogen, carbon monoxide, and ultrafine particle emissions from narghile waterpipe and cigarette smoking: Sidestream smoke measurements and assessment of second-hand smoke emission factors"

The average adult human inhales about 10 liters of air per minute while standing.

From research by the California Environmental Protection Agency: "Research Note 94-11: Topic = How Much Air Do We Breathe?"

Thus breathing air at the station with a concentration of 400,000 UFP particles per cm3 for one hour is the same as smoking 0.4 cigarettes; or every 2.5 hours spent at the station is the same as smoking one cigarette.

``````(1000 cm3 / l) * (10 l / min) * (60 min / hr) * (400,000 UFP / cm3) *
(1 cigarette / 600,000,000,000 UFP) = 0.4 cigarette / hr
``````
• Cheers for the answer. According to this, spending time at the station is not as bad as I initially thought. Moreover, this gave me some new insights on cigarettes - cigarettes are worse than I thought.. I am not smoking but I will for sure pass this information to any of my smoking friends.
– Guy
Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 19:43