Smoke-Free Laws Linked to Fewer Hospital Admissions

Findings for coronary, respiratory admissions; comprehensive laws linked to larger changes

MONDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Comprehensive smoke-free legislation is associated with decreases in hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory disease, according to a meta-analysis published in the Oct. 30 issue of Circulation.

Crystal E. Tan and Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D., from the University of California in San Francisco, conducted a random effects meta-analysis of 45 studies involving 33 smoke-free laws, with a median follow-up of 24 months, to assess the correlation between smoke-free legislation and hospital admission or death from cardiac, cerebrovascular, and respiratory diseases.

The researchers found that comprehensive smoke-free legislation correlated with significantly lower rates of hospital admissions (or deaths) for coronary events (relative risk [RR], 0.848), other heart disease (RR, 0.610), cerebrovascular accidents (RR, 0.840), and respiratory disease (RR, 0.760). Longer follow-up was not associated with a change in the difference in risk following comprehensive smoke-free laws. Larger changes in risk correlated with more comprehensive laws.

"This study provides evidence that smoke-free laws are followed by fewer hospitalizations and lower health care expenditures for a wide range of diseases and that comprehensive laws ending smoking in workplaces, restaurants, and bars are associated with greater effects," the authors write. "The general public, public health professionals, and policy makers should consider these positive associations as they develop smoke-free legislation and decide whether or not to include exceptions to these laws."

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