Heart attacks in Pueblo decreased by 27 percent in the 18 months after the city banned smoking in restaurants, bars and workplaces, according to a study released Monday.
The study, only the second of its kind in the country, found the city's two hospitals treated 399 patients for heart attacks in the 18 months just before the ban, compared with 291 after it took effect July 1, 2003. . . .
The Pueblo findings, presented Monday during an American Heart Association meeting, reinforce the only other similar study, done in 2002, in Helena, Mont.
The Montana study found a 40 percent drop in heart attacks during the six months that city's smoking ban was in effect. . . .
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of adults in the United States; more than 1 million people suffer heart attacks each year and about half the attacks are fatal, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC estimates that about 35,000 people in the U.S. die each year from heart disease related to secondhand smoke.
Epidemiologists call Pueblo an ideal location for the study. It is good sized - with a population of 104,000 - but fairly isolated, so most people working there live close by and, if they have a heart attack, would go to a local hospital.
Pueblo outlawed smoking in public places - such as bars, restaurants, bowling centers, bingo parlors and workplaces - in July 2003.
Pueblo is one of 16 Colorado communities that have banned smoking in all restaurants, workplaces or both.
Eight other communities allow smoking in bars and restaurants only in separately ventilated and completely enclosed rooms. Denver is not among either group.
Also, note that while this was called a smoking ban, smoking in private, such as in your own home or car, was not banned.
Which makes me wonder what other environmental effects have on the rate of heart attacks. After all, California has had a public-building smoking ban in place for years, yet no study has come out regarding the rates of heart attacks before and after that one came into effect. Or New York City, for that matter.
The culture of an area has a good deal to do with this, as well as the smoking ban. Particularly general stress levels.
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