SECONDHAND SMOKE MAY INCREASE RISK OF HEART ATTACKS
HONOLULU "The Hawaii State Department of Health is cautioning individuals with heart conditions or a history of heart disease to avoid secondhand smoke. The warning is based on new direction from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that
The new CDC commentary was issued in response to a study published in the British Medical Journal. The study documented a 40 percent decline in the number of hospital admissions for heart attacks, during the six-month period in 2002, when an indoor smoking ban was in effect in Helena, Montana. Unfortunately for Helena residents, the number of heart attacks rose quickly to its former level after the law was struck down in court.
"Weâ€™ve known for some time that secondhand smoke is unhealthy," said Chiyome Fukino, M. D. Director, Hawaii State Department of Health. "This new research increases the urgency to reexamine the Stateâ€™s workplace smoking statute. Employees shouldnâ€™t have to choose between their job and their health."
The new study strengthens the growing body of research pointing to potentially fast and acute reactions to secondhand smoke, in addition to the long-term damage done to nonsmokers who live with smokers. The CDC has estimated that secondhand smoke causes upwards of 35,000 heart disease deaths a year in the United States.
If future studies replicate the results from the Helena study, the public health implications would be dramatic. Thousands of heart attacks, among nonsmokers, could potentially be prevented each year.
"Hawaii needs stronger laws and policies to protect all employees from the deadly exposure of secondhand smoke," said Deborah Zysman, Director, Coalition for a Tobacco Free Hawaii.
"All workers deserve the right to breathe clean air."
For more information on second had smoke and tobacco control efforts visit the DOH web site at www.hawaii.gov/doh.
For More Information Contact:
Department of Health
Phone: (808) 586-4442
Laura M. Lott
Department of Health
Phone: (808) 586-4418