Disease Proof

Smoking Ban Cuts Heart Attacks

In 2003, the town of Pueblo, Colorado passed a municipal law making work environments and public places smoke-free. Since that time, heart attacks have dropped by more than 40%. The CDC tracked hospitalizations for heart attacks and found in the 18 months before the ban there were 399 hospital admissions in Pueblo, but in a year and a half following the ban, heart attack admissions dropped to 237, a 41% decline; Reuters investigates.

Refreshing to hear, because just a year ago a report revealed the U.S. Congress was not doing enough to curb smoking. Saying many states are failing to take anti-smoking action, but meanwhile cigarette companies continue to spend billions to market tobacco products.

Promoting smoke-free initiatives can also save billions. This summer research by the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education showed that California saved $86 billion in healthcare costs, by investing a scant $1.8 billion in anti-smoking programs.

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Mike - May 14, 2009 6:33 AM

Just to be clear, the 40% drop in heart attacks in one location doesn't tell us a lot. I'm sure I read somewhere that when the UK instituted the smoking ban, the downward trend in heart attacks was indistinguishable from the pre-existing trend before the ban.

Don't get me wrong, I know that smoking is bad and am not trying to promote it, but using stats like the single instance of a 40% fall in heart attacks is misleading. If we're going to persuade people to live healthier lives, we should do it with completely objective data.

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