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National Institute for Occupational

Safety and Health (NIOSH) Report, 1991

Speaking Points

This visual presents the major findings of the NIOSH report on secondhand smoke.  The full title of the report is Current Intelligence Bulletin 54:  Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace:  Lung Cancer and Other Health Effects, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1991.14

At the time the NIOSH report was released, the link between environmental tobacco smoke and heart disease was strongly suspected, but not yet fully confirmed.  Recently, the results of a prospective ten-year study of 32,000 nurses has corroborated the results of earlier epidemiological studies—involuntary smoking causes heart disease.15

Perhaps the most significant part of the report is its clear message that there are only two effective methods by which workplaces can be made safe from the dangers posed by secondhand smoke.

1)

For most workplaces, the best solution is a complete ban on smoking in all work areas.16

2)

Separate, enclosed smoking areas can be established if they are separately ventilated and directly exhausted to the outside.17  This alternative is effective only if nonsmokers never need to enter the smoking area to perform their jobs.

14 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  Current Intelligence Bulletin 54:  Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace:  Lung Cancer and Other Health Effects.  US DHHS, CDCP, NIOSH, June 1991.  DHHS Publication No. (NIOSH) 91-108.

15 Kawachi, I., et al.  A prospective study of passive smoking and coronary heart disease.  Circulation 95:2374-2379, 1997.

16 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.  Current Intelligence Bulletin 54:  Environmental Tobacco Smoke in the Workplace:  Lung Cancer and Other Health Effects.

17 Ibid, 13.

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