Institute of Medicine Reports Smoke-free Laws Decrease the Rate
of Heart Attacks and Save Lives
A new landmark report from the
Institute of Medicine (IOM) in the United States concludes
smoke-free laws banning smoking in public and workplaces reduce the number of
heart attacks and save lives. The
report confirms that there is conclusive scientific evidence that secondhand
smoke causes heart disease and compelling evidence that even relatively brief
exposure to secondhand smoke can cause heart attacks.
The report reviewed 11 studies
looking at the relationship between smoking bans and cardiovascular disease from
the United States,
Scotland and a multitude of other
scientific studies on the relationship between second-hand smoke and heart
disease and found that:
is a causal relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and heart
consistently indicate that exposure to second hand smoke increases the risks of
heart disease by 25 percent to 30 percent. Even very low levels of exposure
to second hand smoke increase the risk of heart disease. As exposure levels to second hand smoke
increases, the risk of heart disease increases.
brief exposure to secondhand smoke may cause heart attacks. While calling for more research on the
topic, the IOM concluded that there is compelling evidence that even relatively
brief exposure to secondhand smoke can precipitate a heart attack. Studies
have found that secondhand smoke exposure causes adverse changes in the
cardiovascular system, such as immediate increases in blood clotting and
restrictions in blood vessels that increase the risk of a heart attack.
Smoke-free bans in public places and
work places decrease the number of heart attacks. Studies
of smoking bans report reductions in the incidence of heart attacks ranging from
6 percent to 47 percent. Given the variations in types of smoking bans
studied and in how the studies were conducted, the IOM could not determine more precisely how great
the effect is
However, the consistent findings of lower heart attack rates after bans were
implemented conclusively demonstrate that smoke-free policies help protect
people from the cardiovascular effects of tobacco smoke.
Secondhand smoke contains more than
4,000 chemicals, including at least 69 carcinogens. In addition to causing heart disease,
secondhand smoke is a proven cause of lung cancer, serious respiratory illnesses
such as bronchitis and asthma, low birth weight and sudden infant death
Comprehensive smoke-free laws in
public and work places save lives and reduce heart
short term exposure to secondhand smoke is dangerous and increases the risk of a
Governments around the world have
the responsibility to protect their citizens from the dangers of second hand
smoke by enacting comprehensive smoke-free laws that include all workplaces and
public places, including restaurants and bars.
Full document available in English
Full citation: Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the
Evidence. Washington DC; Institute of Medicine: 2009.
For fact sheets on smoke-free bans
in English, French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese and Arabic, go
If you have questions about the
study or how you may use it in your advocacy efforts, please contact Miranda
Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
report was sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
and conducted by the Institute of Medicine. Established in 1970 under
the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine
provides independent, objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health
professionals, the private sector, and the public in the United
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