Passive Smoking and Cardiovascular Diseases

More than 19 epidemiological studies have focused on passive smoking or second hand smoke and CHD. A meta-analysis by Law et al.16 demonstrated that never-smokers have a 30% higher risk for CHD, if they live with a smoker.

Active smoking of one cigarette per day increases the risk for CHD by 39%, which is similar to the risk of a non-smoker who lives with a smoker. Law et al. did not find any bias for this association. The impact of better food habits in non-smokers was estimated to amount to only 6%. If this is taken into account, a risk increase of about 24% for CHD in non-smokers exposed to second hand smoke remains (30%-6% = 24%).16 This finding was substantiated by two more recent meta-analyses.17,18

The burden of cardiovascular disease from second hand smoke in the US is estimated to amount to about 35,000-62,000 deaths from CHD per year.19 Conservative estimates for Germany come up with 3700 cases of CHD (fatal and nonfatal) and 1800 cases of stroke (fatal and nonfatal) due to second hand smoke.20

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