American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown issued the following comments today on the CDC Foundation's new study released in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease, which found smoke-free laws in nine states had no impact on restaurant and bar revenue:
"This new study proves what we have known for years—strong smoke-free laws have no negative impact on restaurant and bar revenue. While many studies have had similar results, this study is the most comprehensive ever done.
Given this compelling evidence, there is simply no excuse for elected officials not to act. It is time for all states to pass comprehensive smoke-free laws to protect workers and the public from secondhand smoke.
The American Heart Association has long supported smoke-free laws because exposure to secondhand smoke increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Every year, secondhand smoke is estimated to cause between 21,000 and 75,000 deaths from heart disease and between 38,000 and 129,000 heart attacks. Long-term exposure to secondhand smoke, in a home or in the workplace, is associated with a 25 to 30 percent increased risk for coronary heart disease in adult nonsmokers. Even short-term exposure can increase the risk of heart attacks among non-smokers.
Despite the health hazards of secondhand smoke exposure, many cities and states have still not passed strong smoke-free laws. One of the most common arguments against these laws is the fear that businesses will see a drop in revenue. This study confirms that not only are smoke-free laws good for health, they will not hurt business. It is time for action."