New first aid guidelines urge members of the public not to give the "kiss of life" unless they are fully trained.
The best chance of saving a life is to give a casualty chest compressions, and this is all passers-by should do if they are lacking full skills, according to the guide.
People are reluctant to "kiss" a stranger and others are worried about getting the technique wrong, experts have said.
The 2010 Resuscitation Guidelines published on Monday said the first action should be to call 999, followed by compression-only CPR or full CPR if a person is trained.
According to the document, every opportunity should be taken to give compression-only CPR because "any CPR is better than no CPR".
People should perform chest compressions at a depth of 5cm to 6cm, at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
This differs to previous guidelines, which recommended more shallow compressions and a rate of 100 per minute.
An estimated 30,000 people each year in the UK have cardiac arrests in the community but fewer than 10% survive and only around a third receive bystander CPR.
Copyright © Press Association 2010
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"Good sensible advice for lay people" - Francis Connor, Liverpool
You are currently leaving the Nursing in Practice site. Are you sure you want to proceed?