A study done in the 18 months after Pueblo, Colorado enacted its smoking ban in 2003 shows a 27 percent decrease in hospital admissions for heart attacks for city residents. The study was led by Dr. Carl Bartecchi, a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver.
“Heart attack hospitalizations did not change significantly for residents of surrounding Pueblo County or in the comparison city of Colorado Springs, neither of which have non-smoking ordinances,” said the American Heart Association, which published the study in its journal circulation.
The association said this was further evidence of the damage wrought by secondhand smoke.
“The decline in the number of heart attack hospitalizations within the first year and a half after the non-smoking ban that was observed in this study is most likely due to a decrease in the effect of secondhand smoke as a triggering factor for heart attacks,” it said.
It said the researchers had taken into account other variables such as air pollution and community-wide changes in preventive care and concluded that they did not have an impact on their findings.
Working-class Pueblo has a higher percentage of smokers — 22.6 percent — than the statewide Colorado average of 18.6 percent.
“Adopting a non-smoking ordinance has the potential to rapidly improve the cardiovascular health of a community,” Bartecchi said in a statement.
Colorado enacted a statewide smoking ban in July. The Pueblo study gives a positive outlook to the future of healthcare in Colorado. A 27 percent decrease is substantial and will cut the cost of treatment with a trickle down effect to the cost of health insurance throughout the entire state.