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Smoking bans reduce the risk of heart attacks associated with secondhand smoke
Date:10/15/2009

effects of smoking bans on heart attack rates informed the committee's conclusions about the positive effects of smoke-free policies. The studies calculated that reductions in the incidence of heart attacks range from 6 percent to 47 percent. Given the variations in how the studies were conducted and what they measured, the committee could not determine more precisely how great the effect is. Only two of the studies distinguished between reductions in heart attacks suffered by smokers versus nonsmokers. However, the repeated finding of decreased heart attack rates overall after bans were implemented conclusively demonstrates that smoke-free policies help protect people from the cardiovascular effects of tobacco smoke, the committee said.

The report also provides a detailed discussion of the evidence from animal research and epidemiological studies showing a cause-and-effect relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and heart problems. The committee was not able to determine the exact magnitude of the increased risk presented by breathing environmental tobacco smoke, but noted that studies consistently indicate it increases the risks by 25 percent to 30 percent. Although there is no direct evidence that a relatively brief exposure to secondhand smoke could precipitate a heart attack, the committee found the indirect evidence compelling. Data on particulate matter in smoke from other pollution sources suggest that a relatively brief exposure to such substances can initiate a heart attack, and particulate matter is a major component of secondhand smoke.


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Contact: Christine Stencel
news@nas.edu
202-334-2138
National Academy of Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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