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New Study Links Smoking Bans and Drop in Heart Attacks

January 23, 2009

Pierre, SD - Non-smokers have new ammunition to aim toward those who would fill their breathing space with secondhand smoke. A new study released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month shows that a smoking ban in Pueblo, Colorado led to a significant reduction in the number of heart attacks. The report is reinforcing arguments for South Dakotans that back legislation to ban smoking in all public places.

Darrin Smith, with the American Heart Association in South Dakota, says the study focused on heart attack rates and hospitalization in Pueblo, which had passed a smoke-free law.

"Very clearly, it indicates, when people aren't exposed to secondhand smoke in public places or in the workplace, the heart attack rate drops dramatically - as much as 41 percent over a three-year period."

The study compared Pueblo's hospitalizarion rates to nearby communities that didn't have smoking bans, and the data demonstrated secondhand smoke is a serious health hazard, says Smith.

"Secondhand smoke affects the heart in many ways, by damaging the lining of blood vessels and increasing the kind of blood clotting that leads to heart attacks. Reducing exposure to smoke can quickly cut the risk of clotting."

The American Heart Association is a member of the South Dakota Tobacco-Free Kids Network, which is the coalition of health groups and individuals leading the effort for a comprehensive smoke-free policy in the state.

More about the study can be found at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5751a1.htm.


David Law, Public News Service - SD