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Smoking bans cut heart attacks, Mayo study says

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A new Mayo Clinic study found a comprehensive smoking ban cut the rate of heart attacks by 45 percent and cut in half the number of people who suddenly dropped dead of heart disease, a powerful argument for places such as Augusta considering a stronger ordinance, the study’s lead author said.

Cory Harrison smokes a cigarette at Stillwater Tap Room in downtown Augusta. A proposed ordinance in Augusta would ban smoking in all public places, including bars.  Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Zach Boyden-Holmes/File
Cory Harrison smokes a cigarette at Stillwater Tap Room in downtown Augusta. A proposed ordinance in Augusta would ban smoking in all public places, including bars.

An abstract of the Mayo Clinic study was presented at a November meeting of the American Heart Association, and the full study is under consideration by the Journal of the American Medical Association, said Dr. Richard Hurt, the director of the Nicotine Dependence Center at Mayo Clinic and lead author of the study. The researchers looked at the 18 months before and 18 months after the enactment of smoke-free laws in Olmsted County, Minn., where Mayo is based. The number of heart attacks dropped by 45 percent after the laws took effect, which is similar to findings in other studies that have been published about other smoking bans. More important, the number of sudden cardiac deaths declined by 50 percent after the ban, Hurt said.

“This is the first time anyone has ever reported (on) sudden cardiac death” after a smoking ban, he said. “Sometimes sudden cardiac death is the first manifestation of coronary heart disease. The very first sign that a person had it, they just drop dead. Literally. So this reduction of 50 percent in sudden cardiac death is a rather amazing statistic.”

There could be a number of reasons why the two are connected. Even small exposure to second-hand smoke, as little as five minutes according to one study in Greece, caused dysfunction in the lining of the aorta, the main vessel feeding blood to the body. The smoke also affects platelets in the bloodstream, and stickier platelets are more prone to form clots that can cause heart attacks, Hurt said.

“For everyone, we should minimize the exposure to second-hand smoke,” Hurt said. “But for people with known heart disease, they should have no – literally no – exposure to second-hand smoke because the risk is too high.”

Augusta is operating under a statewide law that bans smoking in most public places such as restaurants but allows it in bars and places that do not admit anyone under age 18. Advocates are pushing for a ban in all public and many outdoor places, including construction sites and parks. For now, that ordinance is in committee but is not likely to come up again until at least January, said Augusta Commissioner Jerry Brigham, who is also a member of the Richmond County Board of Health.

Hurt said he has heard the arguments against the bans but believes secondhand smoke is like other public health hazards.

“It would be no different than if you had a problem with contaminated water in one of those establishments that was transmitting salmonella,” he said. “It just wouldn’t be something we would tolerate as a public health community. Nor would anyone else tolerate it, either.”

In fact, with all of the evidence of the hazards of secondhand smoke, now increased by his study, Hurt believes it is beyond arguing.

“There should be no more debate about this,” he said. “This is the most definitive study to date showing the relationship between smoke-free workplaces and reduction in heart attacks and for the first time showing reduction in sudden cardiac death. So if the public officials are interested in protecting the public health on the one hand and reducing medical costs on the other, then this is a no-brainer.”

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Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 12/07/11 - 04:47 pm
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"There should be no more

"There should be no more debate on this" he says. Thats how these people operate. We shouldnt look at the many other studies that contradict this or even consider property rights.

Taylor B
5
Points
Taylor B 12/07/11 - 04:58 pm
0
0
These types of cross tab-less

These types of cross tab-less studies have been going on for some time now. http://junkscience.com/2003/10/17/secondhand-smoke-scam/

broadPOV
0
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broadPOV 12/07/11 - 10:07 pm
0
0
looking forward to being able

looking forward to being able to go out to the bars at night and being able to breathe clearly and not wake up reaking of smoke in the morning. After visiting and living in progressive cities with smoking bans for public places, it will be nice to have a similar experience in Augusta.

wtinney
0
Points
wtinney 12/08/11 - 01:54 am
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"progressive" has now become

"progressive" has now become synonymous with "tyranny". If we could just have the machines take over and use us like batteries. They could put us in these pods of goo, using our life force, and it would save us from the dangers of walking outside, crossing the road, breathing polluted air, having sex, having more children (many conservatives like this one - because conservatives do not want socialist procreating but socialist seem to like it), drive a car (which accidents from driving is still in the top 5 of killers in this country). I mean, we technically would be the most free, according to these people, if we just did not eat, drink, or basically, live in any way we desired to.

broadPOV
0
Points
broadPOV 12/08/11 - 10:27 am
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I didn't realize a simple

I didn't realize a simple smoking ban for bars would turn the world into the Matrix. way to stretch for something wtinney.

Bruno
780
Points
Bruno 12/08/11 - 10:57 am
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The correct reading should

The correct reading should be, "Quitting or not smoking causes a decrease in the rates of heart attacks." This is because it is the quitting that is the cause not the banning that is the cause.
This can also be read as "Government intervention in your use of a legal product is good for you. Relax in the stifling embrace of Mother Government... sssshhhhh ... don't struggle now... it will only make it harder for you.."

david jennings
555
Points
david jennings 12/08/11 - 12:20 pm
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0
Them mean ole smokers just

Them mean ole smokers just messin up everything for everybody, there ought to be a law agaiinst it.I'll tell you, it's just a fire on one end and a fool on the other.

stillamazed
1488
Points
stillamazed 12/08/11 - 03:49 pm
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Thank you Bruno....If the

Thank you Bruno....If the smokers have not quit smoking then the ban has nothing to do with it.....they try to brain wash people with these studies and no one should buy into them. BroadPOV, I am sure if you look you can find places to go that don't allow people to smoke but the decision whether or not to having smoking in an establishment should be left up to the private business owner who pays taxes and bills on his or her business, not the government. How would you like it if the government came into your home that you work and pay for and tell you what you can or cannot do? A non smoker can choose not to go to an establishment that allows smoking and the same applies to smokers. You can't take away one persons rights to give to another to make them happy, there has to be fair balance with everything in life......

socks99
250
Points
socks99 12/08/11 - 07:34 pm
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This article seems like one

This article seems like one more dose of pure propaganda put forth by the pro-smoking ban, un-objective reporter!

Wasn't it convenient that a study commissioned by the Mayo Clinic to justify smoking bans could be conducted in the area surrounding the Mayo Clinic? And, then, lo and behold, the numbers were jiggled, and the study came up "777" in favor of the smoking ban! One wonders if 'study areas' with data non-supportive of the ban were ignored.

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