July 31, 2008
Study Supports Health Benefits of Smoking Ban
Hospital Admissions Fall 17% After Scottish Law Enacted; Businesses Balk at Restrictions
By JEREMY SINGER-VINE
When Scotland prohibited smoking in enclosed public areas and workplaces after March 2006, researchers found:
- A 14% reduction in admissions for acute coronary syndrome among smokers.
- A 19% reduction among former smokers.
- A 21% reduction among people who had never smoked.
Source: New England Journal of Medicine
A new study from Scotland provides what public-health experts in the U.S. say is the strongest evidence yet that public bans on smoking -- being debated in several locales -- improve health by reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
According to the study, which appears in Thursday's edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, hospital admissions for heart attacks and acute coronary problems fell 17% overall, and even more for nonsmokers, in the year after Scotland banned smoking in public places.
"There has long been a claim from smokers that they are affecting their own bodies, and why should the public care?" said David Cohen, director of cardiovascular research at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., who wasn't involved in the study. "This shows that the public should absolutely care ... that is an incredibly powerful finding."
Posted by Tom Troceen