Smoking Bans May Reduce Heart Attacks in Nonsmokers

Report details dangers of secondhand smoke exposure and cardiovascular risks
By Andrea Mongler
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking bans may effectively reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attacks attributable to secondhand smoke, according to a report released Oct. 15 by the Institute of Medicine.

Lynn R. Goldman, M.D., of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, and colleagues on the Committee on Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Acute Coronary Events performed a comprehensive review of published and unpublished data, as well as testimony on the relationship between secondhand smoke and heart problems.

The report notes that 43 percent of nonsmoking children and 37 percent of nonsmoking adults in the United States are exposed to secondhand smoke. It also discusses in detail the evidence showing a cause-and-effect relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and heart problems. The authors determined that breathing in environmental tobacco smoke consistently increases the risk of heart problems by 25 to 30 percent.

"It's clear that smoking bans work," Goldman said in a statement. "Bans reduce the risks of heart attack in nonsmokers as well as smokers. Further research could explain in greater detail how great the effect is for each of these groups and how secondhand smoke produces its toxic effects. However, there is no question that smoking bans have a positive health effect."

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