American Heart Association Says IOM Report Underscores the Importance of Smoke-Free Policies to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

Friday, October 16, 2009 General News
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Evidence Shows Heart Attack Rate Decreases with Smoking Bans


/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association supports a new national study which found that smoking bans are effective at reducing the risk of acute cardiac events such as heart attacks associated with exposure to secondhand smoke.  


report makes it increasingly clear that smoke-free policies are having a positive impact in reducing the heart attack rate in many communities," said Clyde Yancy, M.D., American Heart Association President.  "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."  

The Institute of Medicine report, "Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence," sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suggests the strength of association between secondhand smoke and acute coronary events is compelling and provides evidence showing a cause-and-effect relationship between secondhand smoke exposure and heart problems.

The findings also confirm data from the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General report on the consequences of involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke that stated there "is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke."  Nearly 440,000 Americans die each year of smoking-related illnesses and about 38,000 of these deaths are from second-hand smoke.  About 35 percent of those deaths are related to cardiovascular disease.

"More Americans are trying to limit their exposure to secondhand smoke to improve their health and reduce the burden of healthcare costs related to tobacco use," said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.  "Smoke-free policies will make a huge dent in the $10 billion spent annually on healthcare costs associated with exposure to secondhand smoke."  Currently, 70 percent of the nation has smoke-free laws for workplaces, restaurants or bars.

The American Heart Association supports strong public health measures that will reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke across the United States.  These policy priorities include federal regulation of the tobacco industry, adequate funding for tobacco cessation and prevention programs, comprehensive smoke free air laws and taxation of tobacco products. The association believes that smoke free laws should be comprehensive and apply to all workplaces and public environments and there should be no preemption of local ordinances, and no exemptions for hardship, opting out, or ventilation. Visit

American Heart Association Media Advisory

Contact: Suzanne Ffolkes: 202-785-7929,

Maggie Francis:  214-706-1382,

October 15, 2009

IOM Report on Secondhand-Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence


Exposure to secondhand smoke causes up to 75,000 coronary heart disease deaths annually.  Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke, such as that occurring in a home or workplace, is associated with a 25 - 30 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease in adult nonsmokers.

Elizabeth Ross, MD, American Heart Association spokesperson

Cardiologist, Washington Hospital Center

David Goff, M.D., Ph.D., American Heart Association spokesperson

Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Prevention and Professor of Public Health Sciences and Internal Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine

They are available for interviews to discuss the link between secondhand smoke and cardiovascular diseases and policy initiatives that contribute to a reduction in coronary heart disease rates and hospital admissions.  To schedule an interview, contact Suzanne Ffolkes at 202-785-7929, or Maggie Francis at 214-706-1382,

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, the American Heart Association today is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke.  These diseases, America's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, and all other cardiovascular diseases claim nearly 870,000 lives a year.  To learn more, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

SOURCE American Heart Association

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