Institute of Medicine Heart Attack Study

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) - part of the National Academies and established by Congressional Charter to advise the nation on scientific matters - issued a report in October 2009 titled Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence, which affirmed studies from around the world which reported dramatic reductions (ranging from 6%-47%) in heart attacks once smokefree laws are in place.

The IOM wrote of the findings, "Data consistently demonstrates that secondhand-smoke exposure increases the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks and that smoking bans reduce heart attacks. Given the prevalence of heart attacks, and the resultant deaths, smoking bans save more than half a million lives each year in the U.S. alone. The savings, as measured in human lives, is undeniable."

On October 15, 2009, Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued a statement regarding the report, in which he said:

"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. The IOM also concluded that the evidence is compelling that even brief secondhand smoke exposure could trigger a heart attack.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Nearly three of four U.S. adults have at least one major risk factor for heart disease. Yet, only 40 percent of Americans live in areas with comprehensive state or local laws that ban smoking in public places. These findings suggest that tens of thousands of heart attacks could be prevented each year, and that states and communities that do not have comprehensive smoke–free laws could have significant cardiovascular health benefits by doing so.

There's no time to waste with this many lives at stake. It is time to mount a full–scale assault on the tobacco epidemic and eliminate all exposure to secondhand smoke. Smoke–free laws are one of the most readily available and cost–effective methods for preventing heart attacks, heart disease–related illnesses and deaths, and reducing health care costs. The only way to protect nonsmokers from the dangerous chemicals in secondhand smoke is to protect workers and the public through comprehensive smoke–free laws."

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CDC Page Regarding the IOM Report