Smoking Bans Could Save Lives
A study just released suggests that smoking bans in public places can reduce heart attacks and can actually save lives.
The report completed by The Institute of Medicine (IOM) reviewed research examining the impact of smoking bans on cardiovascular risk and the relationship between secondhand smoke and heart disease.
“The report confirms that eliminating smoking in workplaces, restaurants, bars, and other public places is an effective way to protect Americans from the health effects of secondhand smoke, particularly on the cardiovascular system,” says CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, MD,.
“If you have heart disease, you really need to stay away from secondhand smoke. It is an immediate threat to your life,” said researcher Neil Benowitz, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco. He added that because many people don’t know they have heart disease until they have a heart attack, anyone could be at risk. “Even if you think you are perfectly healthy, secondhand smoke could be a potential threat to you.”
In the United States, about 43 percent of nonsmoking children and 37 percent of nonsmoking adults are exposed to secondhand smoke. Despite efforts to decrease exposure to secondhand smoke, about 126 million nonsmokers were still breathing others' smoke in 2000, according to the report.
“Whether smoking bans can actually reduced heart disease has been an ongoing debate, for a very long time and this new report certainly puts that issue to rest,” said 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.”
The report found that smoking bans cut heart attacks by anywhere from 6 percent to 47 percent. Other studies concluded that breathing secondhand or "environmental" smoke increased risk for heart problems by 25 percent to 30 percent.
"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 smoke-free laws across the country to save lives and reduce the number of new smokers," he said.
Researches are extremely excited that this study has confirmed that second hand smoke can cause heart attacks therefore; the smoking ban could save more lives.
Reference: U.S. News and WSJ materials are used in this report.
Written by Tyler Woods Ph.D.
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