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Discussion Starter #1
By Jeremy Laurance
Health Editor
The Independent - UK
6-30-04

Passive smoking may be twice as dangerous to health as previously thought, researchers say today.

Non-smokers exposed to other people's smoke have a 50 to 60 per cent increased risk of heart disease compared with those who live and work in a smoke-free environment, according to a new study. Previous research had put the risk of heart disease caused by passive smoking at only 25 to 30 per cent higher.

The finding, described by the British Heart Foundation as "potentially pivotal", is published in the online version of the British Medical Journal. Today, representatives of the British Medical Association meeting in Llandudno are expected to back a call for the Government to follow the lead of the Irish by banning smoking in pubs, restaurants and other workplaces.

Most studies of passive smoking have examined the risks of living with someone who smokes. But these "partner studies" have failed to take account of the fact that, in addition to the time they spend at home, non-smokers are also exposed to secondhand smoke in offices and restaurants, in pubs and other public places.

Researchers from St George's Hospital Medical School in Tooting, south London, say that measuring the levels of cotinine in the blood, a by-product of nicotine, is a more accurate way of assessing exposure to passive smoking from all these sources.

In a study of 4,729 men from 18 British towns, they found higher cotinine levels were linked with at least a 50 per cent increased risk of heart disease. The men were followed for 20 years after cotinine levels were measured at the start.

The risks were highest in the early years and seemed to decline with time, possibly because smoking generally was falling, so that non-smokers were exposed to less second-hand smoke. The research also suggested that three out of four non-smokers had an increased risk of heart disease because of exposure to passive smoking from all sources.

Peter Whincup, professor of cardiovascular epidemiology at St George's, who led the research, said: "This study adds to the weight of evidence that passive smoking is harmful and strengthens the case for limiting exposure to passive smoking as much as we can."

In May, research published by Imperial College, London, suggested passive smoking may cause 700 premature deaths in the UK each year, three times more than are caused by industrial accidents.

The British Heart Foundation said that the findings were "disturbing" and the evidence "compelling". Tim Bowker, associate medical director, said: "The need for a ban on smoking in public places has never been better illustrated than by this potentially pivotal study. The Government should not delay any further from introducing legislation to protect smokers from this unnecessary risk."

© 2004 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/health_medical/story.jsp?story=536610
 

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Discussion Starter #4
DeuceDiva said:
.....still.....i love the smell of cigars....
not I...i like the smell of chlorine :p
 

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lakeway11 said:
By Jeremy Laurance
Health Editor
The Independent - UK
6-30-04

Passive smoking may be twice as dangerous to health as previously thought, researchers say today.

Non-smokers exposed to other people's smoke have a 50 to 60 per cent increased risk of heart disease compared with those who live and work in a smoke-free environment, according to a new study. Previous research had put the risk of heart disease caused by passive smoking at only 25 to 30 per cent higher.
That's not twice as dangerous.

Suppose that non-smokers who live and work in a smoke-free environment have a 10% chance of getting heart disease. (I don't know the exact number; I'm just using 10% as an example.) The previous research would have implied that "passive smokers" would have a 12.5-13% chance of getting heart disease; the new research apparently implies that "passive smokers" have a 15-16% chance of getting heart disease.

Either the researcher or the writer is playing with numbers to try to scare people. :mad:
 

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lakeway11 said:
The British Heart Foundation said that the findings were "disturbing" and the evidence "compelling".
Big deal, we all know smoking, passive or not, causes cancer and heart disease and COPD yet loads of people still do it.
 

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The extra risk is twice as great, so I think it's fair to say that passive smoking is twice as dangerous to your health as was believed. However, some articles have said that your risk of these diseases if you are a passive smoker is twice what was formerly believed. When it's put that way, Ted is right.

I was ... er ... fuming ;) about this mathematical illiteracy myself after reading one of the articles.
 
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