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Smoking Bans Work

by Anne S. on Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rachel wanted me to share this editorial on the relation of smoking bans and decreasing heart attacks.

Pharmacies would be overrun if a new drug came on the market that reduced the rate of heart attacks by 33 percent.

While this medical intervention does exist, it doesn't come in pill form. Instead, it's a public policy -- smoke-free workplace laws, such as Minnesota's 2007 Freedom to Breathe Act, whose value regrettably continues to be challenged on ideological grounds. A recent commentary appearing on these pages -- one that recycled arguments about government overreach -- was one of the latest salvos.

But a new study led by Mayo Clinic's Dr. Richard Hurt serves up more evidence that existing smoking bans not only make sense but should be adopted more widely. The team of researchers filled in an important research gap on smoking bans' value. In 2009, an Institute of Medicine committee combed through existing studies and concluded "there is a causal relationship between smoking bans and decreases in acute coronary events.'' But the committee didn't quantify the risk reduction, and it quibbled with some studies' design. Read the rest of the editorial.


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