May 21, 2010

Public Smoking Ban Would Cut Down On Heart Attacks

A nationwide ban on smoking in all public places would save more than $90 million in healthcare costs and greatly reduce hospital admissions for heart attacks, according to a study by Henry Ford Health System released Thursday.

In the first year alone, a ban such as this would prevent 18,596 hospital admissions.

The study, presented Thursday at the American Heart Association's annual Quality of Care and Outcomes Research conference in Washington, said if the smoking ban that exists in many states were extended to 13 states without such a law, these benefits would occur.

"Even if you avoid one heart attack, it is something significant," said Mouaz Al-Mallah, M.D., Henry Ford's co-director of Cardiac Imaging Research and lead author of the study.

"When people smoke, they are not only harming themselves, they're harming those around them who are exposed to secondhand smoke."

A similar study conducted in 2008 by Dr. Al-Mallah found that a smoking ban in Michigan could lead to a 12 percent drop in heart attack admissions in the first year of such a ban. On May 1, Michigan became the 38th state to ban smoking in public.

Henry Ford obtained 2007 data on the number of heart attack discharges, length of stay and hospital charges from the 13 states currently without a public smoking ban.

Researchers found more than 169,000 hospital admissions for heart attack in the states with no public smoking ban. When the 11 percent risk reduction was applied to those states, researchers concluded it would lead to 18,596 fewer heart attack admissions.


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