Your Health 10-29-12: Smoking bans lead to less hospitalizations

A new study finds hospitalizations for heart attacks, strokes and asthma have reduced significantly due to bans on smoking in public areas and workplaces.

Researchers found that "smoke-free laws" in 33 locales led to a 15 percent reduction in hospitalizations for heart attack, a 16 percent reduction in hospitalizations for strokes and a 24 percent cut in hospitalizations for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other respiratory diseases.

Researcher Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco says, "Smoke-free laws have dramatic and immediate impacts on health and the associated medical costs."

Twenty-nine U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and many other U.S. cities and counties have smoke-free laws to protect people from secondhand smoke, which is linked to cardiovascular and breathing problems in nonsmokers.

The report appears online in the journal Circulation.