October 30, 2012

THERE'S NO JUSTIFICATION FOR NOT BANNING IT ENTIRELY:

Do secondhand smoke laws prevent heart attacks? (Genevra Pittman, Oct 29, 2012, Reuters)

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota found that in the 18 months before the first ordinance was enacted, the rate of heart attacks in Olmsted County was 151 for every 100,000 people. By the 18 months following the second ordinance, that fell to 101 per 100,000 people.

Dr. Richard Hurt said a few other studies, including one from Montana, have also suggested smoke-free workplace laws could impact heart attack rates.

But, he told Reuters Health, "There have been lingering doubts among some people about whether or not this was a real finding. We think we have produced the most definitive results that anyone can produce related to smoke-free laws and heart attacks."

Hurt, who led the research, said other predictors of heart attacks - including cholesterol levels, blood pressure and diabetes and obesity rates - all held steady or increased in Olmsted County over the study period.

"The only thing that really changed here was the smoke-free workplace laws," he said.

About 3,600 municipalities have laws on the books that restrict where people may smoke, according to the American Nonsmokers Rights Foundation, with more than 1,000 including a smoke-free provision of some kind.

According to Hurt, the findings also make sense biologically. Exposure to secondhand smoke can cause immediate changes in the lining of the aorta, and can make blood platelets stickier - so they're more likely to form a dangerous clot.

The study is in line with the Institute of Medicine, which advises the U.S. government and said in a 2009 statement that, "data consistently demonstrates that secondhand-smoke exposure increases the risk of coronary heart disease and heart attacks and that smoking bans reduce this risk."

Posted by at October 30, 2012 9:04 PM
  

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