Jun 6, 2008
Indoor smoking ban decreases cases of heart disease
Hard evidence that indoor smoking bans are benefiting the health of people are beginning to come in, and one of the first national smoking bans is showing positive results.
In just one year after Italy enacted a national smoking ban, researchers in Rome found an 11.2 percent reduction of acute coronary events in persons 35 to 64 years and a 7.9 percent reduction in those ages 65 to 74, according to a study in, “Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.”
Researchers in Rome compared the rate of acute coronary events from 2000 to 2004 to those occurring in 2005 after the ban was enforced, and they came up with the significant numbers. This was the first study in Europe to show the long-term health benefits of smoke free legislation in public places. Other European countries that are entirely smoke-free include England, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and France Coronary heart disease is a leading cause of death in Italy, and this study affirms smoking bans have a tremendous positive effect on public health.
“Smoking bans in all public and workplaces result in an important reduction of acute coronary events,” said Francesco Forastiere, M.D., Ph.D., co-author of the study and head of the Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology, Rome E. Health Authority, Italy. “The smoking ban in Italy is working and having a real protective effect on population health.”
In Michigan, studies have primarily focused on the economic effects on bars and restaurants, such as the recent study by Public Sector Consultants that showed there is no drop in business and revenue after a smoking ban is enacted.
Although critics of smoking bans are ignoring the two reports by the U.S. Surgeon General that says there is no amount of secondhand smoke and it is killing thousands of people every year, policymakers are not. Sen. Bruce Patterson, R-Canton, said the report is what changed his mind when he voted for the ban last month.
The Senate is currently considering House Bill 5074 that bans smoking in workplaces, with the exception of non-Native American casinos, bingo-halls and so-called “cigar bars.”