Nationwide smoking ban would help reduce heart attack admissions, slash costs

May 20, 2010

A nationwide smoking ban would save more than $90 million and significantly reduce hospitalizations for heart attack, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

After analyzing data from the 13 states that don't have a law banning smoking in public places, researchers concluded that more than 18,596 fewer hospitalizations for could be realized from a in all 50 states after the first year of implementation, resulting in more than $92 million in savings in hospitals costs for caring for those patients.

The study, funded by the hospital, will be presented Thursday at the American Heart Association's annual Quality of Care and Outcomes Research conference in Washington.

"Even if you just save one heart attack, it is something significant," says Mouaz Al-Mallah, M.D., Henry Ford's co-director of Reearch and lead author of the study. "When people smoke, they are not only harming themselves, they're harming those around them who are exposed to ."

A similar study conducted in 2008 by Dr. Al-Mallah found that a smoking ban in Michigan could lead to a 12 percent drop in heart attack admissions after the first year of implementation. On May 1, Michigan became the 38th state to ban smoking in public places.

Prior research involving risk reduction from smoking bans has shown that heart attack rates can be reduced by 11 percent after a comprehensive smoking ban.

Henry Ford obtained 2007 data on the number of heart attack discharges, length of stay and hospital charges from the 13 states currently without a public smoking ban. Researchers found 169,043 hospitalizations for heart attack were reported in the states with a comprehensive smoking ban. When the same 11 percent risk reduction was applied to the non-smoking states, researchers concluded it would led to 18,596 fewer heart attack admissions.

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3 / 5 (1) May 20, 2010
Why not just make smokers pay higher premiums?

A lot of the top people in this economy smoke. They will leave if this ban is put in place, and nothing could be worse for our economy than a mass exodus.
5 / 5 (1) May 20, 2010
Its all smoke and mirrors.

It is politically correct to bash smokers. Studies are submitted to meta-analysis to obtain a result congruent with the current political climate.

Human rights don't matter in such endeavors.
5 / 5 (1) May 20, 2010
Hmm, does this mean that people smoking costs us about 30 cents a year? Surely there's many more effective ways to save taxpayer money. I'll bet that if this were attempted, the campaigns to ban smoking and enforce it would cost way, way more than 90 million bucks...
5 / 5 (4) May 20, 2010
Well, a Nationwide candle ban would help reduce 3rd degree burns and over 10,000 deaths each and every year.

Why do we let people use candles?
5 / 5 (2) May 20, 2010
Sounds great on the surface. But legislation like this is beginning to infringe on individual rights. Just extrapolate such a policy to include alcohol. And junk food. And anything resembling a firearm. And cars that go over a certain speed. And certain types of language. It may seem preposterous, but given the momentum of current legislation, is it so unlikely that such laws would be enacted gradually and over time? Such measures would all save a large amount of lives and save the taxpayer cash in the long run - but at the cost of surrendering your individual freedoms in exchange for a safe, sanitized, predictable, and entirely bland future. That may be ideal for some, but to me life is not about getting to the end as safely and quietly as possible in a set of blinders - It is about choice, freedom, and opportunity to experience the world in all its colour, excitement, and a certain element of uncertainty.

See "Demolition Man."
5 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin 1759
2.6 / 5 (5) May 21, 2010
Here's the key aspects all of you freedom-flogging Braveheart wannabes miss:
"When people smoke, they are not only harming themselves, they're harming those around them who are exposed to secondhand smoke."
See? You can kill and poison yourself all you like, and that's your right -- even up to euthanasia, if you so choose. However, when it comes to killing and poisoning OTHERS: you have no such right, constitutional or otherwise. Nor should you ever.

So what I think would be a reasonable solution, is to put up special "smoking rooms", like porta-potties, paid for and maintained by tobacco companies, where you can go inhale carcinogens to your heart's content in an airtight sealed container, whence the ozone, nitrous oxide, cyanide, tar, and all the rest of your noxious emissions are gathered up by filtration stacks and only clean air is allowed to escape. That way, everybody's rights are respected, and you can continue paying your dealers for slowly poisoning you to death.
2.3 / 5 (3) May 21, 2010
I wouldn't have a problem with a smoking ban, but give people fair warning, maybe a couple of years, so that they can take steps to quit.

Can you imagine if smoking didn't exist in the world and some company decided to bring this carcinogenic product to market? It wouldn't stand a hope in hell getting approved by the FDA (and similar agencies elsewhere). It's only legal because it's so historically entrenched.
3.3 / 5 (3) May 21, 2010
Such, idiocy. Ban cars, buses, trucks, airplanes, jets motorcycles, NASA space craft, tuna fishing, all plastic production, chemical factories, and coal burning. These kill so many more than your stupid second hand smoke each year; that should make you want to go have a smoke ;)

Gripe, gripe gripe. Move if you can't live in the real world. I'm sure North Korea would like you to join with them.
2 / 5 (3) May 21, 2010
Good of you to preface your post with the banner, "such idiocy." Makes interpretation of the remainder that much easier. Thanks!

But for the particularly idiotic among us, one might point out that the collective pollution from all the sources you mentioned, is dilute. One might further point out that pollution from cars/buses/trucks is tightly regulated and has been greatly diminished, due to government-mandated catalytic converters and regular smog tests. Ditto for smokestack cleanup w.r.t. coal burning, refineries, etc.: cap and trade actually worked wonders in that case. None of which really applies to the cloud of smoke that tends to hang around you when some addict is chainsmoking behind you in a restaurant, or next to you on a bus, or just plain in your office or in the corridor outside your apartment, or whatever.

To cap it all off, in MY real world smoking is banned in public places and confined spaces, already. Personally, I'm not complaining in the slightest =P
3 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
WSJ article today which mentions a reduction of heart attack rates due to smoking bans.

Have you seen the study by NBER researchers which found that heart attacks rates are just as likely to increase as to decrease after the imposition of smoking bans. The study, CHANGES IN U.S HOSPITALIZATION AND MORTALITY RATES FOLLOWING
SMOKING BANS, concludes:

not rated yet May 21, 2010
"U.S. state and local governments are increasingly restricting smoking in public places. This paper analyzes nationally representative databases, including the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, to compare short-term changes in mortality and hospitalization rates in smoking-restricted regions with control regions. In contrast with smaller regional studies, we find that workplace bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction
or other diseases. An analysis simulating smaller studies using subsamples reveals that large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a workplace ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature."
not rated yet May 21, 2010
The researchers further suggest:

"We also show that there is wide year-to-year variation in myocardial infarction death and admission rates even in large regions such as counties and hospital catchment areas. Comparisons of small samples (which represent subsamples of our data and are similar to the samples used in the previous published literature) might have led to atypical findings. It is also possible that comparisons showing increases in cardiovascular events after a smoking ban were not submitted for publication because
the results were considered implausible. Hence, the true distribution from single 23 regions would include both increases and decreases in events and a mean close to zero, while the published record would show only decreases in events. Thus, publication bias could plausibly explain why dramatic short-term public health improvements were seen in prior studies of smoking bans."
5 / 5 (1) May 21, 2010
Smoking ban opponents have long suspected that the cities chosen for smoking ban heart attack studies were cherry picked. For instance, the Illinois Licensed Beverage Association warns on its website:

"Researchers can deliberately sift through enough small local jurisdictions with smoking bans to find a few aberrations in heart attack rates and then claim that elimination of exposure to secondhand smoke will dramatically reduce incidents of heart attacks. Please don't be taken in by misleading claims based on very select data samples."

Someone needs to look into this! Please find the NBER study attached.
1 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
The only problem with these bans.What people are calling public places are in reality privately owned establishments open to the public.

and then there is this.
December 19, 2007

Heart attacks among cigarette smokers may have less to do with tobacco than genetics. A common defect in a gene controlling cholesterol metabolism boosts smokers’ risk of an early heart attack, according to a new study in Annals of Noninvasive Electrocardiology. The findings also show that smokers without the defect normally have heart attacks no sooner than their non-smoking peers.
2.6 / 5 (7) May 21, 2010
Its all smoke and mirrors.

It is politically correct to bash smokers. Studies are submitted to meta-analysis to obtain a result congruent with the current political climate.

Human rights don't matter in such endeavors.
Smokers smell. You think those of us who suffered with your stink in our workplaces, our homes, our restaurants, would just decide that it hasnt always sickened us and forget about it?

Our rights to breathe clean air trump your ability to befoul it. You have no right to ruin things for others just because youre addicted to some worthless drug, and because you cant stand the pain when you try to stop. Nobody 'chooses' to breathe dirt. Your disease affects your judgement, steals your time, causes your depression, ruins your body, drains your wallet, kills you before your time.

Dont lecture here about your 'rights'. Tobacco has taken most of yours away from you.

Hey harleyrider- who gives a shit?
2 / 5 (5) May 21, 2010
I wouldn't have a problem with a smoking ban, but give people fair warning, maybe a couple of years, so that they can take steps to quit.
Why wait? QUIT NOW. Put it down and dont ever pick it up. You all quit sooner or later anyway, one way or another.
3 / 5 (6) May 21, 2010
Wow. Lets discuss.

There was a country that wanted to ban smoking. The leader of that country didn't want "his" people breeding with smokers. Everyone know who that was? Hilter... and Nazi Germany. How odd that today the Henry Ford Health Center is pushing the same agenda. Obviously, thats just an odd coincidence, but i do find it odd.
Now, about that pollution. Remember that volcano in Iceland? That angry wound has completely erased all of the world's efforts at reducing the human races' carbon footprint of the last five years at least, I'd wager. How about the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico? I think that there are bigger things to worry about than pollution from smoking.
Some how or another the people of the United States elected a bunch of self important, mentally incompetent turds to sit around and make laws based on which minority group complains the loudest. I'm not talking about racial minorities, either, and if you immediately thought I was, then you're part of the -
5 / 5 (1) May 21, 2010
How about we ban combustion engines in public places, that should diminish the number by 4 times.

I work in one of the most polluted areas of NYC, air quality is terrible, surrounded by highway's and such.
3.5 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
The headline here is misleading:
"Nationwide smoking ban would help reduce heart attack admissions, slash costs"

A nationwide ban would be stupid. It'd be a sad encroachment of rights and it would largely fail as this sort of prohibition always does.

The article suggests a nationwide ban on smoking _in public places_. This makes much more sense, and is already common around the world. Second-hand smoke harms others. Where the ban does not exist, it is too difficult to avoid places where people smoke (anyone who reluctantly uses Facebook to maintain relationships with friends should understand this). Personally, I feel that particularly given US history and culture, I don't agree with a nationwide ban.. but, city and/or state bans on smoking in public places are acceptable.
3 / 5 (4) May 21, 2010
I'm not smoker, but such ban would increase the criminality, bribery and the power of criminals, too. The power of USA mafia in 30's of the last century was mainly based on prohibition. I'd increase the health insurance payments for smokers, instead.
3 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
Wow. Lets discuss.
No thanks. Its not about 'discussing' anything. Smoking must end and one way or another, it will.
3 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
a bunch of self important, mentally incompetent turds
Sounds like the typical smoker.
which minority group complains the loudest.
Smokers are only about 20% of the adult population in the US. And shrinking.

Suffer now or suffer later- the choice is yours, the only one you got.
2 / 5 (3) May 21, 2010
By what human right does the individual right end? the state can make no claim on our labor unless we are owned, and so it cant lose something if we don't live, or if there is a cost for our health (it hasn't made itself responsible for).

the idea of experimenting on masses of people with incentives or disincentives to get them to do what you think is right, isn't very ethical. it wasn't ethical when it was to make blond children, its not ethical to manipulate the situation to make non smokers, or more female researchers, or fewer [fill in the blanks]. either you have self determination or you don't.
May 21, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
3 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
the idea of experimenting on masses of people with incentives or disincentives to get them to do what you think is right, isn't very ethical
It makes me sick. It makes you sick. It makes your children sick. What makes you think anything about that is right?
3 / 5 (2) May 21, 2010
You can't have freedom unless you're willing to give it to others. The desire to use government force to control others has been around as long as government. I suggest only allowing government to use force against citizens when one person initiates force against another or their property or to resolve disputes among citizens.

Otherwise, don't be surprised by the corollary, you'll find government forcing you to do things you don't want to do.
1 / 5 (1) May 22, 2010
I suggest only allowing government to use force against citizens when one person initiates force against another or their property or to resolve disputes among citizens.
Im using the govt to FORCE you smokers to stop bothering me. You FORCE me to inhale your stink and I will do what I can to FORCE you to stop. Do you Understand me?
5 / 5 (1) May 22, 2010
That would just make tobacco the new marijuana. Marijuana control is already a complete failure. I am absolutely not pro marijuana or tobacco, but see it for what it is. This is a complete waste of an article.
not rated yet May 22, 2010
The real question is why we give special treatment to tobacco. It's no better than a lot of the drugs out there that are tightly controlled, and has no place in our diet, society, or culture other than an addictive vice. People would object if the government legalized something like crack.
5 / 5 (1) May 22, 2010
So, decriminalize pot, acid, and all the other drugs, save for the most egregious ones (like meth, crack, heroin, and other super-addictive shit.)

For the drugs that are inhaled, set up special parlors where the users can do it safely away from everyone else -- along the lines of hookah bars or some such.

Four birds killed with one stone: no more 'prohibition' and resulting crime, no more unnecessary incarcerations and punitive measures -- saving billions of dollars annually and boosting society's productivity, no more unnecessary infringements on the individual right to get high, and no more forcing non-users to use through second-hand inhalation.
3 / 5 (2) May 22, 2010
Forget left and right, Democrat and Republican, there are two types of people in the world. Those that wish to control others and those that have no such desire. - Robert A. Heinlein
3.7 / 5 (3) May 22, 2010
Keep in mind that tobacco is the only addictive drug that has no effect other than to treat it's own withdrawal. Smokers don't smoke to feel better- they smoke to keep from feeling worse. Each cigarette only returns them to normal again- a little weaker, a little shorter of breath, but still feeling no different from the rest of us.

Smoking makes them feel exactly the same as if they didn't smoke to begin with. And that lasts about 20 min before the withdrawal starts to kick in again, tugging at them, ruining their concentration, making them short-tempered, nervous, tired, nauseous, and wanting a fix.
3 / 5 (2) May 22, 2010
Forget left and right, Democrat and Republican, there are two types of people in the world. Those that wish to control others and those that have no such desire. - Robert A. Heinlein
And there are 3 kinds of smokers; those who are too dense to realize they're annoying you, those who know it and don't care, and those who actually enjoy annoying people.

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