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Smoking Bans May Be Boosting Public Health

Toronto hospital admissions for heart, respiratory woes fell by a third after laws took hold, study found

TUESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Since Toronto banned smoking in public places such as restaurants in 2001, there has a major slide in hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory conditions, Canadian researchers report.

The 10-year population study found 39 percent fewer admissions for cardiovascular conditions such as heart attack, angina and stroke, and 33 percent fewer admissions for respiratory problems such as asthma, emphysema, and pneumonia or bronchitis after the ban went into effect.

The findings are "consistent with the evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke is detrimental to health and legitimizes legislative efforts to further reduce exposure," wrote Dr. Alisa Naiman, of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences at the University of Toronto, and colleagues.

Further research is needed to determine which types of smoking bans are most effective, they added.

The study appears April 12 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable disease and death worldwide, and secondhand smoke is the third leading cause of preventable health problems and premature death in developed countries.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about smoking bans and health.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, news release, April 12, 2010

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