Breathing Mumbai’s air as bad as puffing 4 cigarettes a day, Delhi worse at 7.7

Breathing Mumbai’s air has the same effect on your body as smoking four cigarettes a day. In Delhi, it’s 7.7 cigarettes. Other big Indian cities aren’t far behind, with the effect ranging from two to eight cigarettes a day.

A new smartphone application, launched in Paris last month, attempts to put in perspective just how dangerous the levels of air pollution across the world is.

It uses location-specific data for the PM2.5 pollutant to calculate the quality of air in terms of cigarettes smoked. PM2.5 is floating particulate matter that includes both organic and inorganic pollutants. Their diameter is less than 2.5 microns, which means they can enter the respiratory system easily. The app, called ‘Shoot! I Smoke’, uses a study by Berkeley Earth, a California-based climate science analysis to make the calculation. It’s available free on both Android and iOS platforms.