The health risks of incense use in the home: an underestimated source of indoor air pollution?

Debbie Roberts, David Pontin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The health impact of indoor air pollution is a growing area of interest for public health professionals. People typically spend up to 90 per cent of their time indoors, particularly women, young children and elders. Although the adverse health effects of second-hand tobacco smoke are well recognised, the impact of burning incense in the home has received little attention in Western literature. Incense burning in the home is common in a number of cultures (particularly Asian, North African or Arabic). Many health visitors (HVs) work with communities who use incense regularly for religious/cultural reasons and it is a neglected area of study and research.The literature suggests that home incense use can have significant adverse health effects, particularly on cardiopulmonary morbidity and mortality. Further research is needed to identify which individuals are most susceptible, which types of incense are most harmful, and whether any actions can be taken to minimise exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-41
Number of pages6
JournalCommunity practitioner: the journal of the Community Practitioners' & Health Visitors' Association
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2016


  • Adolescent
  • Air Pollution, Indoor
  • Child
  • Female
  • Frankincense
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Respiration Disorders
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoke


Dive into the research topics of 'The health risks of incense use in the home: an underestimated source of indoor air pollution?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this