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Smoke-Free Law Cuts Heart Attacks Over Three-Year Period

Law banning workplace and public place smoking linked to a 41 percent decline in hospitalizations due to heart attacks

MONDAY, Jan. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Hospitalizations due to heart attacks were markedly reduced in the three years following the enactment of a Pueblo, Colo., city law banning smoking in workplaces and public places, according to a report published in the Jan. 2 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

R.N. Alsever, M.D., of the Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo, Colo., and colleagues studied the effect of a smoke-free law on the rate of hospitalizations due to heart attacks. Unlike previous studies, which focused on the first year following passage of a smoke-free law, this current investigation evaluated the long-term effect over three years. This allowed the investigators to determine whether immediate reductions in heart attack-related hospitalizations were sustained over time.

In the 18 months immediately following implementation of the law, the rate of hospitalizations was 187 per 100,000 person-years, a 27 percent decrease from the 257 per 100,000 person-years that occurred in the 18 months prior to the law, the investigators found. The researchers report that the rate of heart attack-related hospitalizations was further reduced by 19 percent in the subsequent 18-month period, to 152 per 100,000 person-years.

"This study adds to existing evidence that smoke-free policies can dramatically reduce illness and death from heart disease," said Janet Collins, Ph.D., the director of the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC, in a statement.

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