The American town of Helena, Montana, saw the number of hospital admissions fall immediately after it banned smoking in public. The number of heart attacks in the town went down by 40% within six months of the ban. Helena has a population of 68,000.
Six months after the ban was imposed, it was lifted. There was strong opposition to the ban. As soon as the ban was lifted the heart attack rate went up again.
The ban did not allow smoking in offices, factories, restaurants, bars and all public places that were enclosed.
Before the ban the town’s only hospital would get about 40 heart attack admissions in a six-month period. During the six-month period when the ban was in force, the number of heart attack admission was 24. The six month period after the ban saw heart attack numbers go back to their old level of 40 admissions. The surrounding area (towns and villages nearby) saw no changes in their heart attack admission numbers.
Apart from increasing the risk of lung cancer and heart attacks, passive smoking also affects the stickiness of the blood and the elasticity of the arteries. These two factors, in themselves, increase heart attack risk.
According to Professor Stanton Glantz, University of California, San Francisco, study leader, passive smoking increases your risk of myocardial infarction by 30%. He says that the bad effects of passive smoking occur rapidly and are nearly as large in passive as in active smokers.
You can read about this study in the British Medical Journal (www.bmj.com).
Another recent study revealed that a non-smoker who lives with a smoker has a 15% higher risk of premature death compared to a non-smoker who does not live with a smoker. You can read about this study in the British Medical Journal as well (www.bmj.com). This was a New Zealand study. It looked at non-smokers aged 45-74.
It's interesting to read, anyways. Wonder how accurate it was, and if it'd hold true over longer periods and with more people. Say, like in NYC. Anyone know if the hospital admission rates for heart attacks and other problems has gone up, down, or stayed the same per capita in NYC?