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Smoking Bans Reduce Heart Attacks: Study
Date:10/15/2009

Danny McGoldrick, vice president for research at Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. Not only does it document that smoke-free laws result in fewer heart attacks, it may also help get more states and localities to pass smoke-free legislation, he said.

"If policy makers are paying attention to the science, and this is one more piece of evidence that says 'you can actually save people's lives, save health-care costs,' then those states that have yet to act should do so," he said. "How many dramatic findings do you need before you are finally going to act to protect everybody's right to breathe clean air?"

To reach its conclusions, the IOM reviewed published and unpublished data and heard testimony about the association between secondhand smoke and heart problems.

Studies showed that smoking bans cut heart attacks by anywhere from 6 percent to 47 percent. Given the wide range, the IOM could not precisely determine the risk reduction, but said the benefits were obvious.

Other studies concluded that breathing secondhand -- or "environmental" -- smoke increased risk for heart problems by 25 percent to 30 percent, the report found.

While there was no direct evidence that brief exposure to secondhand smoke could trigger a heart attack, indirect evidence supported this conclusion, the study found.

Data on smoke from other pollution sources suggest that even a relatively brief exposure to particulate matter can cause a heart attack, and particulate matter is a component of secondhand smoke, the report noted.

"This report makes it increasingly clear that smoke-free policies are having a positive impact in reducing the heart attack rate in many communities," Dr. Clyde Yancy, president of the American Heart Association, said in a prepared statement.

"There's no question that secondhand smoke has an adverse health impact in workplaces and public environments. We must continue to enact comprehensive smo
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