Smoking bans lower heart attacks..

January 1, 2008 - A smoking ban caused heart attacks to drop by more than 40 percent in Pueblo, Colorado and the decrease lasted three years, federal health experts reported Wednesday (12/31/2008). In 2003 (July 1, 2003) this city passed a municipal law making workplaces and public places smokefree and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tracked hospitalizations for heart attacks afterward.

They found there were 399 hospital admissions for heart attacks in Pueblo in the 18 months before the ban and 237 heart attack hospitalizations in the next year and a half -- a decline of 41 percent. The effect lasted three years, the team reported in the CDC's weekly report on death and disease.

"We know that exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS, passive, sidestream, environmental, involuntary) has immediate harmful effects on people's cardiovascular systems, and that prolonged exposure to it can cause heart disease in nonsmoking adults," said Janet Collins, director of CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke can raise heart disease rates in adult nonsmokers by 25 percent to 30 percent, the CDC says. Secondhand smoke kills an estimated 46,000 Americans every year from heart disease and 3,000 lung cancer deaths among non-smokers each year. Smoking also causes a variety of cancers, as well as stroke and emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

This study adds to existing evidence that smoke-free policies can dramatically reduce illness and death from heart disease. Dr. Michael Thun, American Cancer Society: 'This is now the ninth study, so it is clear that smoke-free laws are one of the most effective and cost-effective (ways) to reduce heart attacks."

Reference: Smoking ban lowers heart attacks in one U.S. city, Reporting by Maggie Fox; Editing by Bill Trott, Reuters, 12/31/2008; Colorado study links smoking ban to major drop in heart attacks, Associated Press, 12/31/2008.

CDC Publication: Reduced Hospitalizations for Acute Myocardial Infarction After Implementation of a Smoke-Free Ordinance --- City of Pueblo, Colorado, 2002--2006

Some related news briefs: U.S. - Children Remain Especially Vulnerable to Secondhand Smoke; Massachusettes - Smoking ban drop in fatal heart attacks..; Nicotine Dependence in Kids Exposed to Second-Hand Smoke..