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IOM Report Links Second-Hand Smoke to Cardiovascular Disease

Posted Oct 15 2009 10:03pm
A new Institute of Medicine report further clinches the case for linking second-hand tobacco smoke to cardiovascular disease.  An IOM committee found that data consistently demonstrates that secondhand-smoke exposure increases the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks and that smoking bans reduce this risk. Given the prevalence of heart attacks, and the resultant deaths, the committee found smoking bans can have a substantial impact on public health.

"The IOM study underscores the 2006 declaration by Surgeon General Richard Carmona that when it comes to second-hand smoke, 'the debate is over, the evidence is clear,'" said Partnership for Prevention President Robert J. Gould.

"Most importantly, the report clearly re-iterates that the damage from second-hand smoke does not require years of exposure," he continued. "The effects are immediate, and smokefree laws quickly reduce heart attacks among non-smokers.

"The science cannot and must not be ignored," Gould said. "We hope policymakers and employers across the country will take immediate action to protect the public from detrimental effects of second-hand smoke in all public spaces and workplaces. We also hope that citizens wll take this science 'to heart' and make their homes tobacco free."

Partnership for Prevention is a membership organization of business, nonprofit and government leaders working to make evidence-based disease prevention and health promotion a national priority.  A year ago, Partnership assembled a naitonal working group that issued a call to action ( www.acttiontoquit.org ) to provide smokers who want to quit with accress to a comprehensive range of evidence-based cessation treatment.

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Since smokefree policies encourage tobacco users to make quit attempts, it is important for such policies to be accompanied by improved access to a wide range of evidence-based treatments," Gould said. "Quitting smoking is very difficult for most people, and not all treatments work the same for all people,"
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