My favorite quotes from this article:
“…individuals with the highest levels of exposure to passive smoking of 22 hours or more a week may increase their risk of heart attack by about 45%.”
“…if current trends in smoking continues, a billion people will die this century from tobacco-related illnesses…”
Passive smoking increases heart risk by 45 per cent
Friday, 18th August 2006,
PEOPLE who regularly breathe in second hand cigarette smoke either at home or in work are almost one and a half times more likely to suffer a heart attack, new research warns today.
And if current trends in smoking continues, a billion people will die this century from tobacco-related illnesses, say scientists.
All forms of tobacco exposure â€smoking, chewing or passive smokingâ€ increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by up to three times.
The worldwide Interheart study of more than 27,000 people across fifty two countries found smokers had a three fold higher risk of a heart attack compared with those who had never smoked.
Even those with relatively low levels of exposure of between eight and ten cigarettes a day doubled their risk of heart attack.
The Canadian team also found exposure to second hand smoke increased the risk of heart attack in both former and
The findings, published in The Lancet, suggest that individuals with the highest levels of exposure to passive smoking of 22 hours or more a week may increase their risk of heart attack by about 45%.
But the researchers did find that the risk of heart attack dropped with time after stopping smoking. Among light smokers who used fewer than ten cigarettes a day there was no excess risk three to five years after quitting.
By contrast, smokers of at least twenty cigarettes a day still had an excess risk of around 22%, twenty years after quitting.
In one of the first studies of its kind researchers Professor Salim Yusuf and Dr Koon Teo, of McMaster University, Ontario, calculated the risk of heart attack for various forms of active tobacco use and second hand smoking in all areas of the world.
The investigators adjusted their calculations to exclude the effect of other lifestyle factors that could affect heart attack risk, such as diet and age.
They found that tobacco use in any form, including sheesha smoking popular in the Middle East and beedie smoking common in South Asia, was harmful.
Sheesha smoking is tobacco smoked through a water pipe, while beedie smoking is tobacco rolled in a dried leaf and tied with a string.
Dr Teo said: “Chewing tobacco also increased the risk of a heart attack two fold, indicating that all forms
of tobacco use or exposure are harmful.”
Professor Yusuf said: “Since the risks of heart attack associated with smoking dissipate substantially after smoking cessation, public health efforts to prevent people from starting the habit, and promote quitting in current smokers, will have a large impact in prevention of heart attack worldwide.”
In a commentary, epidemiologists Dr Sarah Rosner and Dr Meir Stampfer, of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, described the research as “remarkable” and warned a billion people will die this century from smoking related conditions if current trends continue.
They said: “The overwhelming conclusion from this mass of data is tobacco exposure – be it cigarettes, pipes, cigars, beedies, sheesha, or smokeless; second hand or primary; filtered or non filtered, even at low levels – causes a large proportion of heart attacks in men and women around the world.
“The latest findings from Interheart should stimulate a redoubling of our efforts to rid the planet of the scourge of smoking.”
The original study is documented in The Lancet, a leading medical journal.