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Big Decline in Heart Attacks If All States Had Smoking Bans
Date:5/20/2010

Americans would suffer 18,000 fewer attacks per year, save millions in health costs, study finds

THURSDAY, May 20 (HealthDay News) -- If all states banned smoking in restaurants, offices and other public spaces nationwide, the number of Americans suffering from heart attacks would drop by more than 18,000 within the first year, researchers report.

"Comprehensive smoking bans have been implemented in some states, but not in every state," noted lead researcher Dr. Mouaz Al-Mallah, co-director of Cardiac Imaging Research at Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit.

Currently, 39 states have some type of public smoking bans, with 26 banning smoking in any enclosed public space, while 11 states have no bans at all.

Based on the finding, Al-Mallah said that he would "encourage all states to institute a ban on smoking in public place to protect people from secondhand smoke. Authorities should do everything possible to prevent healthy individuals from being exposed to secondhand smoke, and one of the ways is by passing such laws. "

Al-Mallah was scheduled to present the findings Thursday at the American Heart Association's annual Quality of Care and Outcomes Research conference in Washington, D.C.

For the study, the researchers looked at data from 13 states that do not have laws banning smoking in public places. In states without smoking bans there were 169,043 hospitalizations for heart attack, the researchers found.

Based on their calculations of an 11 percent drop in heart attacks if bans were instituted nationwide, there would be 18,596 fewer hospitalizations for heart attack in the first year.

In addition, there would be a savings of $92 million in costs of caring for these patients, the researchers said.

In 2008, Al-Mallah found that a smoking ban in Michigan would result in a 12 percent drop in heart attacks in that state.

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, director of the Ahma
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