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New study finds risk of heart disease from passive smoking greater than thought

Thursday 1 July, 2004

Quit has urged the speedy introduction of smokefree bar laws in Victoria following the release of a new study which has found the risk of coronary heart disease caused by passive smoking is greater then previously thought.

The study, published in the prestigious British Medical Journal , found that non-smokers who were exposed to passive smoking faced increased risk of serious heart disease. These risks increased as people were exposed to greater levels of tobacco smoke.

Executive Director of Quit Todd Harper said the findings were disturbing and provided yet another reminder that laws banning smoking in all indoor workplaces must be enacted quickly.

' It is a tragic irony that bar workers are the most exposed to passive smoking at work yet these employees are least protected by laws banning smoking in the workplace,' Mr Harper said.

' We also know that bar workers have a higher risk of lung cancer compared to the rest of the population.

The only way to protect non-smokers from the harms of passive smoking is to ban smoking in all indoor workplaces.

Mr Harper said laws banning smoking in indoor workplaces, including bars, had already been approved in Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, Norway, 45 Canadian municipalities and seven states in the United States including California and New York.

Mr Harper said similar laws would be popular with the Victorian community.

Research by The Cancer Council Victoria in 2003 found that 72 per cent of Victorians supported smokefree bar laws.

' Even an Australian Hotels Association survey in Victoria in 2000 found that the most frequent complaint about hotels by Melbourne bar patrons was that these venues were too smoky,' he said.

Further information:
Zoe Furman,
Media Communications Manager

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