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Study Finds Anti-Smoking Legislation Dramatically Reduces Hospital Admissions

Oct 30th, 2012
Staff Writer
Smoke-free legislation, like "Smell Flowers Not Smoke", help reduce second-hand || smoke and subsequently cardiovascular and respiratory illness. Photo credit: iStock

Smoking has been linked to cardiovascular and respiratory disease for decades, and since the first smoking-disease link was made, the chain has been lengthened by continued investigation.

When researchers discovered that second-hand smoke was sufficient to cause medical complications, legal action was taken around the world to reduce the negative effects. Laws designating areas as “smoke-free” pleased asthmatics and pregnant mothers but peeved smokers and libertarians.

After years of implementation, a host of studies around the world have investigated the effect of these laws on hospital admissions for smoking-related issues (cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness and reproductive complications).

The largest meta-analysis of smoke-free legislation to date was published in the October 29th American Heart Association Circulation Journal. The study reviewed 47 publications covering 37 different smoke-free laws; 10 of them national, 12 state and 15 local.

The comprehensive analysis revealed consistent results across the host of study environments: hospital admissions related to heart disease, stroke, asthma and lung infection were significantly reduced following smoke-free legislation and presumed reduction in the community’s exposure to second-hand smoke.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for example, found that 18 months after their smoke-free ordinance was enacted, heart attacks dropped from 151 per 100,000 persons to 101 per 100,000.

Dr. Richard Hurt conceded, “There have been lingering doubts among some people about whether or not this was a real finding.” But he affirmed in his interview with Reuters that, “We think we have produced the most definitive results that anyone can produce related to smoke-free laws and heart attacks.”

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