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Separate studies find lower risk of heart attack in cities with smoking ban

Posted On Thu, September 24, 2009

Two new studies being released by U.S. universities are taking the notion that smoking is bad for one's health and expanding it further, claiming that living in cities that have implemented smoking bans decreases the risk of a heart attack when compared to living in cities where no ban is implemented.

One study, which was conducted by James Lightwood, Ph.D., and Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., from the University of California found that cities with a smoking ban had seen at least a 15 percent decline in heart attack hospitalizations in the first year after the legislation was passed. The percentage increased to 36 percent after three years.

"This study adds to the already strong evidence that secondhand smoke causes heart attacks, and that passing 100 percent smoke-free laws in all workplaces and public places is something we can do to protect the public," Lightwood said, according to Reuters.

The second study, which was led by Dr. David Meyers of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, found similar results and found that even nonsmokers that inhale secondhand smoke have up to a 30 percent higher risk of a heart attack than those who can avoid the smoke. It also suggests that a nationwide ban on smoking in public and workplaces could prevent up to 225,000 heart attacks each year in the U.S.

In addition to improving one's health, the decreased risk of a heart attack for those living in an area with a ban could also benefit from lowered health insurance rates.

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