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February 26th, 2008:

Tobacco Smoke Derived Particle Levels

A 32-country comparison of tobacco smoke derived particle levels in indoor public places

ABSTRACT – TC Online – 26th February 2008

Objective: To compare tobacco smoke-derived particulate levels in transportation and hospitality venues with and without smoking in 32 countries using a standardised measurement protocol.

Methods: The TSI SidePak AM510 Personal Aerosol Monitor was used to measure the concentration of
particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) in 1822 bars, restaurants, retail outlets, airports and other workplaces in 32 geographically dispersed countries between 2003 and 2007.

Results: Geometric mean PM2.5 levels were highest in Syria (372 mg/m3), Romania (366 mg/m3) and Lebanon (346 mg/m3), while they were lowest in the three countries that have nationwide laws prohibiting smoking in indoor public places (Ireland at 22 mg/m3, Uruguay at 18 mg/m3 and New Zealand at 8 mg/m3). On average, the PM2.5 levels in places where smoking was observed was 8.9 times greater (95% CI 8.0 to 10) than levels in places where smoking was not observed.

Conclusions: Levels of indoor fine particle air pollution in places where smoking is observed are typically greater than levels that the World Health Organization and US Environmental Protection Agency have concluded are harmful to human health.

View the full report on Tobacco Smoke Derived Particle Levels in Indoor Public Places here.

Mexico to Go Tobacco Free

VivirLatino – 26 Feb 2008

The Mexican Senate just passed the much talked about “Anti-tobacco Law”, which would make many parts of the country smoke free, and the consequences for breaking it are no joke:

The General Law for Tobacco Control will prohibit smoking in closed public spaces and violations will be punished with up to 36 hours of jail time.

In addition, fines up to the equivalent of 100 to 10,000 minimum wage days [a common way of calculating fines in Mexico] and the temporary or permanent closing of businesses violating the law will be applied. For repeat offenders, the fine can go up to 1 million pesos.

The new law establishes “100% smoke free zones” in public spaces, workplaces both public and private and universities.

Mexico’s Milenio reports that once the official bulletin is released by the government, the law will take effect in 90 days all over the republic. No Smoking signs will be visibly placed in areas where smoking is prohibited, and the government will provide a phone number where citizens can report violations of the law. In addition, business owners who wish to allow smoking in their establishments will have 180 days to modify their property to close off an area for that.

The law also establishes new regulations for tobacco-related advertising, which from now on may only appear in publications geared toward adults or in places where only adults are allowed to enter, such as bars and nightclubs.

Bahrain Bans F1 Tobacco Advertising

by Amy Glass on Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Tobacco advertising on billboards related to Formula One motor racing has been banned in Bahrain in a move to reduce smoking in the kingdom, where one in three adults smoke.

The ruling is part of a long-term campaign to remove cigarette and tobacco advertising at all of the kingdom’s sporting events, Bahrain daily Gulf Daily News reported on Tuesday.

Mariam Al Jalahma, under-secretary for primary care and public health at the Health Ministry, said the ban was a significant development in Bahrain’s effort to tackle its growing smoking epidemic, quoted the newspaper.

However, Al Jalahma would not comment on whether this ban would be extended to tobacco advertising during the race itself.

There is already a blanket ban on tobacco advertising in Europe and many F1 teams are no longer sponsored by tobacco companies.

A ban on all tobacco sponsorship in F1 will come into affect in 2009.

Al Jalahma said the government was currently studying anti-smoking laws of several countries, as it drafts its own legislation, according to Gulf Daily News.

The government first drafted an anti-smoking law in 1994, but it was not implemented. The new draft is a combination of the original draft and a new law proposed by the parliament.

The proposed anti-smoking law will see smokers fined up to 50 Bahrani dinars ($132) for lighting up in specified public areas, while restaurants which fail to properly separate smoking and non-smoking areas will be fined up to 5,000 dinars and closed for up to two months.

Al Jalahma expected the law would be passed by the Shura Council before the end of the year.

Heart Attack Rates Fall Following National Smoking Bans

ScienceDaily (Feb. 26, 2008)

French researchers announced a striking 15% decrease in admissions of patients with myocardial infarction to emergency wards since the public ban on smoking came into effect in restaurants, hotels and casinos in France last January. The announcement was made on 23 February by the National Sanitary Institute. Similar results were published in Italy on 12 February by the Environmental Health Authority: researchers in Rome found an 11.2 percent reduction of acute coronary events since the January 2005 smoking ban took effect in Italy.

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) wishes to stress the positive impact of smoking bans in all European countries that have adopted laws banning tobacco use in public places.

“There is a wealth of data linking smoking and cardiovascular disease (CVD),” stated Prof Daniel Thomas, of the European Society of Cardiology and a Senior Cardiologist in the Centre Hospitalier Pitié- Salpêtrière in Paris. “Although further studies are needed all over France to confirm the strong decrease in smoking related deaths over time, these statistics show the same tendency professionals have already observed in Italy, Ireland and Scotland when these countries introduced their own bans on tobacco. To me, the most striking aspect in this study is the reduction of pollution inside cafés and restaurants by over 75% between December 2007 and January 2008. Passive smoking has been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease and the recent smoking ban is obviously having a beneficial effect on both smokers and non-smokers.”

The European Society of Cardiology together with other health institutions has continuously informed the public of the overwhelming evidence of the adverse effect of smoking on cardiovascular health. The European Guidelines on CVD prevention warn that smoking is responsible for 50% of all avoidable deaths and that smoking causes heart attacks at any age. Data produced by Prof Pekka Jousilahti from Finland at the ESC’s EuroPrevent Congress in 2006 showed that smoking releases over 4000 chemicals into the body affecting every organ.

“The swift reduction of heart attacks and strokes in France is very good news indeed!”states Prof Jean Pierre Bassand, Past President of the ESC and Head of the Cardiology Department at the University Hospital of Besançon . “Cardiologists do not need to be convinced that smoking and passive smoking have an important impact on the rate of heart attacks; they are also convinced that giving up cigarettes and eliminating passive smoking has a very favourable effect on the rate of heart attacks. Unfortunately the ban on smoking in public places has not led to a reduction in the number of smokers in France, confirming data observed elsewhere.”

Prof Daniel Thomas agrees: “Governments must learn from these findings and not give in to pressure from the tobacco lobby. In France people are actually still buying tobacco but just the fact that working and living environments are free from smoke pollution has made an enormous difference to public health, not only regarding cardiovascular disease, but also respiratory disease and other complaints such as headaches, as the INVS findings show. It is very important to stress the immediate results observed on cardiovascular disease when people live in smoke free environments.”

“Although cardiovascular diseases are very complex in nature and due to many causes, smoking bans most certainly have caused a reduction in coronary events. This is consistent with the pollution reduction observed in indoor public places” explains Roberto Ferrari, President Elect of the ESC.

The European Society of Cardiology would like to encourage smoke cessation across the continent through smoking bans and taxes on cigarettes. There is a consensus on the benefits of smoking cessation which are usually almost immediate and contribute to diminish the burden of cardiovascular disease.

The positive figures communicated last week in Italy and France should encourage other European countries to enforce similar measures to protect their citizens.

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