[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 20-May-2010
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Contact: David Olejarz
dolejar1@hfhs.org
313-874-4094
Henry Ford Health System

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

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 heart attack could be realized from a smoking ban 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 Cardiac Imaging 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 secondhand smoke."

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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