Study: Smoking Ban Would Help Reduce Heart Attack Admissions

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 General News
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DETROIT, Nov. 11 The number of heart attack patientsadmitted to Michigan hospitals could be significantly reduced if a statewidepublic smoking ban were implemented, according to a Henry Ford Hospital study.

Researchers looked at the average number of hospital admissions from1999-2006 in Michigan for what is known as acute myocardial infarction, orheart attack, and concluded that a smoking ban could lead to 3,340 feweradmissions annually.

"If Michigan were to implement a comprehensive smoking ban tomorrow, wewould see a 12 percent drop in heart attack admissions after the first year,"says Mouaz Al-Mallah, M.D., Henry Ford's director of Cardiac Imaging Researchand lead author of the study.

While the study did not look at medical care costs, researchers theorizethe reduction in admissions could mean substantial savings to health careproviders. The average cost of a heart-attack admission in Michigan is about$16,000.

The study, funded by the hospital, will be presented Tuesday, Nov. 11 atthe American Heart Association's annual conference in New Orleans.

Dr. Al-Mallah says the health benefits to a smoking ban are hard toignore.

"When you smoke, you're not only hurting yourself but you're hurting me,too," he says. "The bottom line is that even if you save just one heartattack, it is something significant."

The study comes in the midst of an ongoing debate in the MichiganLegislature on whether to outlaw smoking in all public workplaces like bars,restaurants and smoke shops. Smoking already is banned in state and federalgovernment buildings and hospitals.

In September, a comprehensive smoking ban fell six votes short of approvalin the Michigan House.

According to Michigan figures, nearly 22 percent of Michigan adults smokeand more than 14,000 adults die each year from their own smoking. Smoking inMichigan accounts for an estimated $3.4 billion in health care costs everyyear.

Henry Ford's findings mirror the results of several similar studies. In2007, a study found an 8 percent reduction in hospital admissions one yearafter the state of New York implemented a public smoking ban. Studies inseveral European countries had similar results.

Henry Ford researchers used a statistical method called meta-analysis tocalculate the impact of a smoking ban and hospital admission incidence.Researchers used the average rate of hospital admissions for heart attack forthe past eight years, then multiplied that rate with the attributable riskcalculated from several studies -- two in Italy, one in Scotland and one eachin Montana, Colorado and New York -- to estimate the projected rate of heartattack admissions in Michigan if a smoking ban was enacted.

SOURCE Henry Ford Health System

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