The National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine have a history of leading efforts to reduce smoking in the United States for the benefit of public health. Twenty-five years ago this month, the National Research Council released a highly influential report that led to the smoking ban on airliners. Dr. Donald Stedman shared with us his recollections from the time when he served as a member of the NRC authoring committee for The Airliner Cabin Environment: Air Quality and Safety.
“I believe that my participation in that committee will stand as my major contribution to human welfare regardless of my research and other activities. Twenty-five years ago the tobacco industry owned the media. If an editor put in anything bad about tobacco his paper lost their cigarette ad revenue. Congress did indeed pass the ban [on smoking on flights] but only for short flights and only for two years. Then their mail was apparently 100-1 in favor of a nationwide ban, which they did, and now it is worldwide.”
Since publication of this National Research Council report, the Institute of Medicine has continued to lead the way in the fight to lower the U.S. smoking rate. Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation reviewed effective prevention and treatment interventions and new tobacco control policies for adoption by federal and state governments. Some of this book’s recommendations were considered controversial at the time, such as smoking bans for all nonresidential indoor settings nationwide and a requirement for all public and private health insurance plans to make coverage of smoking cessation programs a lifetime benefit.
More recently, Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence focused on the relationship between secondhand smoke and heart problems. This book reported that smoking bans are an effective way to reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease associated with exposure to secondhand smoke. The book also confirmed that there is sufficient evidence that breathing secondhand smoke boosts nonsmokers’ risk for heart problems.
These and other books about the public health effects of smoking are available to read or download.
|Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation
The nation has made tremendous progress in reducing tobacco use during the past 40 years. Despite extensive knowledge about successful interventions, however, approximately one-quarter of American adults still smoke. Tobacco-related illnesses and death place a huge burden on our society…
|Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects: Making Sense of the Evidence
Data suggest that exposure to secondhand smoke can result in heart disease in nonsmoking adults. Recently, progress has been made in reducing involuntary exposure to secondhand smoke through legislation banning smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and other public places. The effect …
|Clearing the Smoke: Assessing the Science Base for Tobacco Harm Reduction
Despite overwhelming evidence of tobacco’s harmful effects and pressure from anti-smoking advocates, current surveys show that about one-quarter of all adults in the United States are smokers. This audience is the target for a wave of tobacco products and …
|Growing Up Tobacco Free: Preventing Nicotine Addiction in Children and Youths
Tobacco use kills more people than any other addiction and we know that addiction starts in childhood and youth. We all agree that youths should not smoke, but how can this be accomplished? What prevention messages will they find compelling? …
|Combating Tobacco Use in Military and Veteran Populations
The health and economic costs of tobacco use in military and veteran populations are high. In 2007, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) make recommendations on how …
|The Airliner Cabin Environment and the Health of Passengers and Crew
Although poor air quality is probably not the hazard that is foremost in peoples minds as they board planes, it has been a concern for years. Passengers have complained about dry eyes, sore throat, dizziness, headaches, and other …
|The Airliner Cabin Environment: Air Quality and Safety
Each year Americans take more than 300 million plane trips staffed by a total of some 70,000 flight attendants. The health and safety of these individuals are the focus of this volume from the Committee on Airliner Cabin Air Quality. …