There is overwhelming evidence within the international scientific community that demonstrates a causal association between second-hand smoke exposure and heart disease. The California Environmental Protection Agency states that there is strong evidence which shows involuntary exposure to passive smoke is a cause of coronary heart disease morbidity and mortality:
"The epidemiological data, from prospective and case-control studies conducted in diverse populations, in males and females and in western and eastern countries, are supportive of a causal association between [second-hand smoke] exposure from spousal smoking and coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality in non-smokers."
The link between heart disease and exposure to second-hand smoke has been long established through various epidemiological studies. They have shown that non-smokers exposed to passive smoke also experience carotid wall thickening and compromised endothelial function (a critical factor in the development of arteriosclerosis or fatty build-up in the arteries which can lead to coronary heart disease) as experienced in active smokers. Groundbreaking evidence in this area has shown the effects of 30 minutes of passive smoke exposure can have a damaging effect on the endothelial cell lining and coronary circulation in the arteries of the heart can eventually lead to coronary heart disease (please refer to the article below, "Acute Effects of Passive Smoking on the Coronary Circulation in Healthy Young Adults").
Below are links to selected articles on this topic:
Passive smoking and risk of coronary heart disease and stroke: prospective study with cotinine measurement. Whincup, PH et al. BMJ 2004 June.
Cohort study of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and risk of ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack. Iribarren, C, Darbinian, J, Klatsky, AL et al. Neuroepidemiology 2004; 23(1-2): 38-44.
Reduced incidence of admissions for myocardial infarction associated with public smoking ban: before and after study. Sargent, RP et al. BMJ 2004 Apr 24; 328(7446):977-80.
Effect of exposure to secondhand smoke on markers of inflammation: the ATTICA study. Demosthenes, B, Panagiotakos, CP, Chrysohoou, C. Am J of Medicine. Feb 2004; 116(3): 145-150.
Public Smoking Ban Slashes Heart Attack Rate in Community. UCSF Today. University of California, San Fransisco. April 2, 2003.
Smoking and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke decrease some plasma antioxidants and increase -tocopherol in vivo after adjustment for dietary antioxidant intakes. Dietrich M, et al. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. January 2003; 77(1): 160-166.
Association between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and the development of acute coronary syndromes: the CARDIO200 case-control study. Pitsavos C, et al. Tobacco Control. 2002; 11: 220-225.
Environmental tobacco smoke and deaths from coronary heart disease in Canada. de Groh Margaret and Morrison I Howard. Chronic Diseases in Canada. 2002; 23(1).
Acute Effects of Passive Smoking on the Coronary Circulation in Healthy Young Adults. Otsuka, et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. 25 July 2001; 286(4): 436-441.
Association of the California Tobacco Control Program with Declines in Cigarette Consumption and Mortality from Heart Disease. Fichtenberg Caroline M. and Glantz Stanton A. New England Journal of Medicine. 14 December 2000; 343(24): 1772-77.
Passive Smoking Induces Atherogenic Changes in Low-density Lipoprotein. Balkonen M and Kuusi T. Circulation. 26 May 1998; 97(20): 2012-1026.
Unfavorable Effects of Passive Smoking on Aortic Function in Men. Stefanadis C, et al. Ann Intern Med. 15 March 1998;128(6):426-434.
Cigarette Smoking and Progression of Atherosclerosis. George Howard, et al. Journal of the American Medical Association. 1998; 279: 119-124.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke Exposure and Ischaemic Heart Disease: An Evaluation of the Evidence. MR Law, et al. British Medical Journal. 1997; 315: 980-8.
A Prospective Study of Passive Smoking and Coronary Heart Disease. Kawachi I, et al. Circulation. 20 May 1997; 95(10): 2374-2379.
Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Coronary Heart Disease in the American Cancer Society CPS-ii Cohort, Steenland K, et al. Circulation. 15 August 1996; 94(4): 622-628.
Passive Smoking and Heart Disease. Glantz SA, Parmley WW. Jounrnal of the American Medical Association. 5 April 1995; 273(13): 1047-1053.