Environmental Protection Agency science advisers have refused to comply with a tobacco industry demand for more review of a report saying cigarette smoke kills 53,000 non-smokers each year.
``I'm pleased that they stood up to the tobacco industry and made the right decision,' said Stanton Glantz of the University of California, San Francisco, one of the report's authors.The report, sponsored by the EPA and the U.S. Public Health Service, is not an official EPA policy document. It is a broad summary of research on the health dangers of smoking, written by scientists chosen by the EPA.
The report's many conclusions include the finding that tobacco smoke is a substantial contributor to indoor air pollution, that it causes disease even at very low levels of exposure and that ventilation cannot adequately control it.
The finding that has attracted the most attention, however, is the determination that cigarette smoke causes 53,000 deaths in non-smokers each year, 37,000 of them from heart disease. That chapter was written by Glantz and Dr. William Parmley, a UCSF cardiologist.
Those numbers are far higher than the estimates of lung cancer deaths associated with secondhand smoke, which range from 3,000 to 5,000 per year.
As a result of the science advisers' decision, the director of the EPA's indoor air division said he would meet with the other agencies sponsoring the report ``to determine the appropriate next steps in the publication process.' Director Robert Axelrad said he did not know when the report would be released.
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