Oct 26, 2009

Another day another report that says secondhand smoke kills

Just in case there was any doubt cast on the U.S. Surgeon General’s and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conclusion that there is no safe amount of second smoke and that it kills, the nonprofit, nongovernmental Institute of Medicine (IOM) confirmed that with a report of its own that says the same thing.

Earlier this month, the IOM issues a report called “Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence.” The report concludes “smoking bans are effective at reducing the risk of heart attacks and heart disease associated with exposure to secondhand smoke.” Reports and evidence like this continue to come out almost monthly, but the Michigan Legislature continues to sit on their hands, making Michigan one of only 13 states who refuse to protect the majority of its citizens who do not smoke from deadly secondhand smoke.

"It's clear that smoking bans work," said Lynn Goldman, professor of environmental health sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, and chair of the committee of experts that wrote the report. "Bans reduce the risks of heart attack in nonsmokers as well as smokers. Further research could explain in greater detail how great the effect is for each of these groups and how secondhand smoke produces its toxic effects. However, there is no question that smoking bans have a positive health effect."

I agree with the editorial board of the Jackson Citizen Patriot when it says:
“We hope lawmakers, who have toyed with a smoking ban the last couple of years, will take these findings seriously. Once they finish the drama with the overdue state budget, passing a ban ought to be their next order of business.”

Based on what the Legislature has been taking up in the last couple of weeks, like a bill allowing fuzzy dice to be hung on an automobile’s rear view mirror, they can find the time to pass something that has overwhelming and bipartisan support that protects the public health.

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public. Established in 1970, the IOM is the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which was chartered under President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

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