Anti-smoking laws shown to reduce hospitalizations and deaths

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Nov. 5, 2012

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Smoke-free laws worldwide have led to a decrease in hospitalizations and deaths due to cardiovascular disease and respiratory conditions, said a study published Oct. 29 in the American Heart Assn.’s journal Circulation.

Researchers examined 45 studies published before Nov. 30, 2011, that looked at 33 smoke-free laws implemented in the U.S. and other countries. They assessed changes in hospital admissions or deaths after the enactment of anti-smoking policies. The study also examined the comprehensiveness of each smoke-free law by identifying whether it applied only to workplaces; workplaces and restaurants; or workplaces, restaurants and bars (link).

The study found that comprehensive smoke-free laws were associated with a 15% reduction in hospitalizations for myocardial infarctions and a 16% decrease in hospitalizations for stroke. Anti-smoking policies also led to a 24% reduction in hospitalizations for respiratory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

The most comprehensive laws — those that forbid smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars — resulted in the most health benefits. The findings provide strong evidence of the health benefits of smoke-free laws and the need to enact comprehensive laws without exception, the study said.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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