Myocardial Infarctions Drop After Colorado Smoking Ban

Pueblo's 2003 smoking ban may have prevented heart attacks by cutting secondhand smoke exposure

MONDAY, Sept. 25 (HealthDay News) -- One and a half years after the city of Pueblo in Colorado initiated a smoking ban, hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction had dropped by almost 25 percent, suggesting that reducing secondhand smoke exposure may prevent heart attacks, according to a report published online Sept. 25 in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Carl Bartecchi, M.D., from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Pueblo, and colleagues compared hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) 1.5 years before and 1.5 years after the city (population 103,648) implemented a smoke-free ordinance. Rates of AMI were also compared with those from outside the city limits and from a nearby El Paso County that does not have a smoking ban.

The investigators found that AMI hospitalizations were down in Pueblo city limit residents after the smoking ban (relative risk, 0.73) while a non-significant change was observed during the same time outside the city limits and among El Paso County residents.

While the study does prove the causal relationship between secondhand smoke and AMI, the authors note a similar decline was observed in a smaller study in Helena, Mont. "Taken together, we suggest that these data indicate a smoking ordinance may be a vehicle for reducing the burden of ischemic heart disease," the authors conclude.

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