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Smoking Bans Work

February 1, 2009
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Having just returned from a smoke-filled bar (thank you, Cactus), this seems like a great time to note that smoking is a horrible curse on businesses AND your health.   Courtesy of the 13th Floor:

Sometimes — make that lots of times — states pass laws or issue regulations that don’t quite work out as intended.

Here’s a notable exception: smoking bans. Turns out, bans on smoking in public places have a significant and positive effect on public health. The proof is in a new study that tracked the incidence of heart attacks, comparing rates in the city of Pueblo, Colorado, which has had a smoking ban in effect since 2003, and those in nearby counties that had no such bans.

The findings show that in the 18 months preceding Pueblo’s ban, rates in the city and surrounding counties were identical. Three years after the ban went into effect, hospitalizations for heart attack had decreased 41 percent in Pueblo. No significant change was noted in the counties.

Milwaukee, not to mention the rest of the state, needs to pass a smoking ban right quick.   Chicago has had one for a full year and it hasn’t stopped anyone from going out, nor will it do so here.   As quaint as the idea of smoke-filled bars might seem, experiencing one is an altogether different moment.  Let’s get smart and do what’s right.

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