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Smoking Ban Lowers Heart Disease

Smoking bans have been popping up place to place across America for many years. Limiting where, when, and around whom smokers can catch a nicotine fix. A new study from researchers at the Minnesota Mayo Clinic indicates that these bans are responsible for the decline in heart attack related deaths. In 2002 Olmstead County, MN banned smoking in restaurants, followed by a smoking ban in the workplace and bars in 2007. Since most of the county’s 144,000 residents receive care from the Mayo Clinic, it was easy to track patients who consented to the study and gather data on their healthcare. In doing so, the researchers were able to find a declining number of both heart attacks and heart attack related deaths within the county. The figures are impressive. Comparing the 18-month period prior to the restaurant ban and the 18-month period following, researchers found a 33% decline in heart attack cases and a 17% drop in deaths. Interestingly, these results occurred during the same period of time the nation is experiencing increases of diabetes and obesity, and plateauing hypertension rates. Because of the rates of these health factors, researchers could pinpoint that the heart attack decline was a result of the anti-smoking laws. Second-hand smoke plays a large role in heart health. It is well known that heart disease is a risk that comes with smoking, so those who actually smoke cigarettes have the highest risk factor. However, those who breathe in second-hand smoke also have an increased risk, just not as high. Non-smokers also have risk of development of asthma and COPD, common respiratory conditions brought on by habitual cigarette smoke. Researchers are calling for more comprehensive bans on smoking. These bans would restrict smoking in venues such as multi-unit housing, vehicles, casinos, and most outdoor locations. New bans will certainly not go uncontested. Smokers will argue the limitations on their freedoms while anti-smoking supporters will continue to disagree, as they believe no limitations on cigarette smoking invades the rights of those who chose to be smoke-free. Regardless of what either party believes is right, the study clearly shows the positive health effects that anti-smoking bans are creating.   Sources: - Time Health and Family - MedPage Today -
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