Campaign to protect passive smokers from heart disease
The World Heart Federation (WHF) has launched a campaign aimed at reducing the number of deaths due to passive smoking.
The campaign coincides with a study from Buffalo University, New York, which claims that even smokers are at risk from inhaling second hand smoke.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, resulting in 17 million deaths every year. Passive smoking significantly increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes among people who don't smoke themselves. However, the US study found that women who smoked were three times more likely to have a stroke if they lived with a partner who smoked.
The researchers studied 6,003 women who were participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. 2,470 were cigarette smokers, and 1,970 had a cigarette-smoking spouse.
After 10 years the researchers found that women smokers living with smoking spouses were at three times the risk of suffering any type of stroke, and 2.3 times the risk of experiencing an ischaemic stroke - the most common type of stroke, which is caused by a blood clot in the brain.
Adnan Qureshi, lead author of the study, said, 'Spouses are more likely to smoke in the same room to wives who smoke than to wives who do not smoke. There also is an increased likelihood that when both spouses smoke, they are less likely to spend time in a smoke-free environment.'
The findings were presented at the 28th International Stroke Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 14th.
The World Heart Federation estimates that 700 million children worldwide are exposed to passive smoke during their daily lives, and is calling on doctors to educate their patients about the dangers of passive smoking. The organisation is also asking governments to develop 'smoke-free' legislation.