Study Finds Finds Dramatic Drop In Hospitalizations In Areas With Smoke-Free Areas

There is another study that offers strong support for the dangers of both smoking and second-hand smoke. The study at the University of California – San Francisco found a dramatic decline in hospitalizations in areas with laws banning smoking at work and public areas.

The study found fewer hospitalizations for heart attacks, strokes, asthma and other respiratory conditions.The research covered 33 different smoke-free-laws in cities and states as well as several countries like New Zealand and Germany. The study found a 24 percent drop in hospitalizations for respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstruction. There was also a 16 percent drop in stroke hospitalizations and a 15 percent drop in heart attack admissions.

This would suggest a high savings in cost and illness with these laws. There is no reason why other citizens should have to bear these externalized costs. The study could also reinforce tort claims in terms of the harm caused by second-hand smoke.

Source: Eureka

65 thoughts on “Study Finds Finds Dramatic Drop In Hospitalizations In Areas With Smoke-Free Areas”

  1. “Are you a non-smoker? That is a question to ask of all who support non-smoking everywhere.”

  2. Chewing tobacco secondary effects?? Not if they are required to swallow the juices and the cud.

    There is a good story there but will save it.

  3. GaryT,

    BS, pure and simple. Show proof of faults in the study. Go to any European nations health service which uniformly have single payer systems and do have reliable data:
    Ask them about second hand smoke.

    Sounds like you would like to go back to flying and depending on the air system to filer out the toxic agents form tobacco smoke from the smoking section.

    Are you a smoker? That is a question to ask of all who support smoking everywhere.

  4. nick spinelli said:

    “Are there second hand effects from chewing tobacco?”

    Nick –

    I’d guess that depends how accurately you can hit that brass spittoon.

  5. RandyJet,

    I believe Europe is far ahead of America on the problem of air pollution from many factors. I’ve mentioned tobacco smoke. Let’s take particle count including particle size.

    The whole EU follows a strict program, and follows it up with yearly controls, of particles being a very significant health factor.

    Using science to refute science is a favorite tactic of industry. Unfortunately, the public are not equipped to decide. The Surgeon General is an influence and has an official charge.

  6. Commenting wothout having read comments.

    In Sweden, I don’t know of any enclosed public area where smoking is allowed.
    No smoking out of consideration of employee health is standard.
    Smoking on the street is rarely seen.

  7. Are there second hand effects from chewing tobacco? I think I’ll apply for a Federal grant to study it.

  8. Gary T:

    “I would thought the regular bloggers here would be irrationally in favor of the these results, a priori.”

    Gary –

    I take issue with some of the “regulars” here on occasion myself.

    But unlike yourself, I don’t see much irrationality by this group at all.

  9. “I am quite suspicious of the scientific validity of such bogus studies…”

    “… a real lack of scientific scrutiny or plausibility.”

    “Truly the study is defective and biased…”

    Boy, I wish I could get paid by major corporations to post on the internet!

    Does it pay well, being a PR shill? How much per hour, or is it strictly commish?

  10. Having actually read the article…the association between policy change and health is most convincing for diseases than for specific events. Hospital admissions for specific events are rarer events and this is not surprising. They are appropriately conservative in their interpretation of the data.

  11. All I know is that second hand cigarette smoke causes me to have respiratory problems and I don’t need a study to convince me. Even cigarette smoke on left of the clothing of a smoker causes a reaction. No smoking in my house or car by anyone. Unfortunately, smokers need a periodic break (usually at a gas refill or a potty stop) and then I have problems when they get back in the car. Needless to say I’m not terribly enthusiastic to give them a ride or to ride with them.

  12. Reading the apologists who still want to claim no harm from smoking 60 years after the first scientific results proving it is, 40 years after the entire scientific community had repeatedly tested, reviewed and agreed with the conclusion and 20 years after the merchants of death admitted that they knew that all the time and had manipulated their products to make them worse for you then they had to be makes me wonder how long the fight to convince people of the threat from climate change will kill us is we continue blindly poisoning out environment.

  13. I am pleasantly amazed that there is some skepticism in response to this article. I would thought the regular bloggers here would be irrationally in favor of the these results, a priori.

    Truly the study is defective and biased, it simply doesn’t control for other factors that have an impact on the statistics. It pushes for a correlation by implication; the old statistical observation applies: correlation does not prove causation.
    It also flies in the face of other prior studies done that were far more controlled, and far more on point to the question of second hand smoke – like non-smoking bartenders and flight attendants who were regularly exposed to second hand smoke in their occupations, with no statistical correlation of health problems vs non-smoking employees in jobs with no second hand smoke.

    One of the best and well researched articles I have come across on this issue was “Science and Second Hand Smoke, the need for a good puff of skepticism”, by Sidney Zion.
    Read it at http://www.nycclash.com/Zion-Skeptic-Science_And_SHS.PDF

  14. ARE,

    Do you have proof of cherry picking or other skewing factors for the study methodology? The American Heart Association journal Circulation is a peer reviewed publication. Chances are such crude errors as cherry picking would have been sussed out by the review process.

    But your claim of propaganda over science is an interesting claim. Unless you have better evidence than your opinion, you aren’t going to meet the burden of proof for your counter-claim. Attacking science as propaganda just because you don’t like it without any evidence of the science being bad? Is bad science. The Houston Chronicle article? Not having seen it, if it says what you say it says, then yeah that’s not scientific at all – no substances are 100% toxic at any meaningful level of exposure although many are toxic in ridiculously small doses (ricin and certain forms of refined plutonium comes to mind). But there is no indication that this study suggested anything of the sort of blanket statement the HC article used.

    And before you get all testy, I’m an ex-smoker who personally doesn’t care if others smoke around me, but your extraordinary claim requires extraordinary proof.

    1. As Rafflaw shows us, belief is better than science for most people. So a person smoking in his office 20 stories away, has harmed your health! That is patently absurd even for Gene and I think most scientists.

      While I have not read the study, my past readings and experiences with such studies shows a real lack of scientific scrutiny or plausibility. This one might be accurate, but given all the variables, I rather doubt it. The study I don’t believe has any controls as to the size of the pubs or the quality of air before and after, so that alone would be suspicious. Absent such data, I would wonder HOW one could make such claims that it is soley the smoke and not other factors.

      I have personally run into the problems in such studies since I requested a study of the air quality on the unit I used to work on, the benzene toluene unit which really stank. We had three wives of our workers who had miscarriages in a short time span. So I asked the union epidemiologist to look into it. She informed me of the problems associated with linking causation to the exposure and basically told me to forget about it since it is scientifically impossible to prove such a link given such a small data sample and lack of data. So my suspisions are great to say the least.

  15. I am quite suspicious of the scientific validity of such bogus studies since there are no controls and they cannot factor in other causes or groups that have other reasons for the results. They can also cherry pick the groups to give the desired results. The EPA studies that said that second hand smoke was dangerous had to fudge the figures to come up with their results and the person who did it admitted later that the study was faulty on a whole range of things.

    I was also struck by an article that an anti-smoking official wrote in the Houston Chronicle awhile back, in which he stated THAT THERE IS NO SAFE LEVEL OF SECOND HAND SMOKE. That is patently absurd on its face and I was appalled that any rational person could make such an obviously outlandish statement. If that is true, then he has discovered the deadiest substance known to man since there ARE safe levels of the most toxic substances we know of such as strycnine, ricin, benzene, mercury, etc.. Then there is the problem of composition since smoke has many compounds and elements in it. So if one molecule of one substance was created by burning in a cigarette or cigar, it now has becomce so toxic, it is more deadly than any other molecule of the same compound. That defies common sense and science. Such stuff is propoganda, NOT science.

    As for those who do smoke and their health care costs, we can also parse the insurance pool down to save money by raising the rates on obese people since they drive costs up by a FAR greater amount than smokers. Since I used to work in a refinery, there was a large health care cost incurred by workers who worked there in terms of cancer and other diseases such as respiratory ones. Those who worked in coal mines and other occupations that are similar in nature also drive our health care costs up. Of course, such “reasoning” voids the whole concept of insurance. Then we have the illegal drugs that people abuse. I guess that they should simply be thrown out of the ER when they come in since they used a drug that they KNEW to be illegal and harmful. That will bring the health care costs down dramatically too. So such thinking will make life much cheaper and better for the lucky survivors who do not work in hazardous places, and who stay at home or in an office so as not to be at risk for health care problems.

  16. Wow. 24 and 15% are fairly impressive statistically significant numbers. That the source says the change applied equally to men and women is revealing too.

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