Smoking bans reduce hospital admissions for respiratory conditions
MedWire News: Results from a Canadian study suggest that antismoking legislation reduces hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular conditions.
“A growing number of studies has shown evidence of reductions ranging from 8% to 40% in admissions to hospital for acute myocardial infarction after introduction of smoke-free legislation,” explain Alisa Naiman and colleagues from the University of Toronto in Ontario.
But they add: “Very few studies have examined the impact of anti-smoking legislation on other cardiovascular outcomes or on respiratory outcomes.”
To address this, the researchers studied annual hospital admissions due to three cardiovascular conditions (acute myocardial infarction, angina, and stroke) and three respiratory conditions (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], and pneumonia or bronchitis) from 3 years before to 2 years after the phased introduction of a comprehensive smoking ban. The ban was phased in to public places, workplaces, restaurants, and bars in Toronto between 1999 and 2004.
The findings were compared with data on hospital admissions due to cardiovascular and respiratory conditions over the same period from two Ontario municipalities that did not have smoking bans, as well as hospital admissions due to diseases not related to passive smoking (cholecystitis, bowel obstruction and appendicitis) in Toronto before and after the smoking ban.
The researchers found that crude annual rates of admission to hospital because of cardiovascular and respiratory conditions fell by 39% and 33%, respectively, after the introduction of the smoking ban in restaurants.
In contrast, crude annual rates of admissions attributable to cholecystitis, bowel obstruction, and appendicitis over the same period in Toronto, and crude annual rates of admissions attributable to cardiovascular and respiratory conditions over the same period in the two Ontario municipalities without smoking bans remained relatively stable.
Naiman and team conclude in the Canadian Medical Association Journal: “The implementation of antismoking legislation was associated with significant reductions both in hospital admissions attributable to cardiovascular conditions and those attributable to respiratory conditions.”
They add: “Our findings are consistent with the evidence that exposure to second-hand smoke is detrimental to health and legitimize legislative efforts to further reduce exposure.”
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By Mark Cowen