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CDC Finds City’s Smoking Ban Cuts Heart Attack Rate

January 7, 2009
Related Topics: Health and Wellness, Policies and Procedures, Latest News

Making indoor workplaces and public areas smoke-free results in sustained reductions in hospitalizations for heart attacks, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The three-year study involving the city of Pueblo, Colorado, was the first to examine hospitalizations for acute myocardial infarctions (AMI), or heart attacks, for more than one year after a smoking ban was implemented, according to the Atlanta-based CDC.

Nine previous studies found that laws making indoor workplaces and public places smoke-free were associated with rapid, sizable reductions in hospitalizations for AMI. However, most studies examined hospitalizations for one year or less after those laws were implemented. As a result, it could not be determined whether the effect was sustained over time, according to the CDC report issued Friday, January 2.

But the Pueblo Heart Study, which examined the impact of a municipal no-smoking ordinance, found that the rate of AMI hospitalizations among city residents continued to decline for up to three years following the law’s July 1, 2003, implementation.

Specifically, the study found the incidence of heart attacks decreased 27 percent from 257 per 100,000 person-years during the 18 months preceding implementation to 187 per 100,000 person-years 18 months after the law took effect, and then dropped again another 18 months later to 152 per 100,000 person-years.

In statistical analysis, a “person year” is equivalent to following one person for one year.

Since some individuals participated in the study for more than one year, they may be counted more than once. For example, a person who participated for three years would count as three of the 100,000. Pueblo has a total population of just slightly more than 103,000.

The report is available at

Filed by Joanne Wojcik of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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