Smoking Bans Decrease Hospitalization

Toronto phased in a ban on smoking starting in 1999 and ending in 2004 and the results are in: banning smoking was (and still is) a good thing.

“It confirms that public policy can make a difference,” said Dr. Alisa Naiman, lead author of the study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences study was the first to look at the effect of anti-smoking legislation on a wide range of smoking-related conditions. It examined three cardiovascular ailments — heart attacks, strokes and angina — and three respiratory ones — asthma, pneumonia and chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Previous studies have focused solely on heart attacks.

Naiman said researchers were surprised by the findings’ consistency — the fact that hospital visits plummeted in much the same way for both cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.

Hospitalization for cardiovascular conditions dropped 39 per cent, including a 17.4 per cent decrease in heart attacks, while hospital visits for respiratory conditions fell by 33 per cent.

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