NEW YORK, JUNE 15 -- A finding that second-hand tobacco smoke causes 50,000 deaths from heart disease and cancer in non-smokers has been included in a draft Environmental Protection Agency report on passive smoking.
The report, a "technical compendium" of the latest research on passive smoking, has not been released. Documents with information on its contents were obtained by the Associated Press from the Tobacco Institute, an industry group, and from the office of Rep. Thomas J. Bliley Jr. (R-Va.), whose Richmond district's largest employer is Philip Morris, a tobacco company.
Bliley and the Tobacco Institute have pressed the EPA to revise or withdraw a chapter linking heart disease to passive smoking, often referred to as "environmental tobacco smoke," or ETS.
The chapter was written by Stanton Glantz and William Parmley, professors in the department of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. Parmley is a past president of the American College of Cardiology. Glantz presented many of the chapter's findings on May 21 at a scientific conference in Boston.
The chapter concludes that passive smoking causes 32,000 heart disease deaths and 18,000 cancer deaths each year.
That makes passive smoking the third leading cause of preventable death, behind smoking and alcohol, the report concludes.
The study, based on a review of scientific studies, also concludes that passive smoking increases a non-smoker's chance of dying from heart disease by 20 percent to 30 percent.
Robert Axelrad, director of the EPA's indoor air division, said the technical compendium was not a determination by the EPA of the risks associated with passive smoking but a collection of state-of-the-art summaries of research on passive smoking.
"It will contain disclaimers that the views of the individual authors do not represent the views of the EPA," he said. Its release is not expected until this summer.