The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released the results of a study indicating that tobacco-related diseases declined dramatically in the wake of a citywide smoking ban.
Beaumont implemented the ban in select public places in April 2006. The study compared hospital discharge rates from July 2004 through June 2006 (the two-year period right before the ban) with hospital discharge rates from July 2006 through June 2008 (the two-year period right after the ban). Discharge rates in Beaumont also were compared to rates for the same two periods in Tyler, a comparably sized Texas city that did not have a smoking ban.
According to the study, once the ban was implemented, the city saw a decrease in five tobacco-related diseases: acute myocardial Infarction (heart attack), cerebrovascular accident (stroke), transient ischemic attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and asthma.
- Hospital discharges declined significantly for blacks, whites and both races combined for Acute MI and CVA
- For all races combined, acute MI discharges declined by 26 percent and CVA declined by 29 percent
- For whites only, COPD discharges declined by 36 percent and asthma declined by 31 percent
Tyler did not fare as well. Discharge rates for four out of five of the diagnoses did not change there.
The study highlights a number of statistics on the dangers of second-hand smoke, said Sherry Ulmer, Public Health Director.
“The dangers of second-hand smoke are well documented,” said Ulmer. “Non-smokers who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work increase their risk of developing heart disease by 25-30 percent. Secondhand smoke contains about 70 cancer-causing chemicals, and even brief exposure can damage cells in ways that set cancer in motion.”
Beaumont’s ordinance prohibits public smoking in targeted areas: enclosed public places; enclosed areas or facilities owned, leased, or operated by the city; enclosed areas of a work place; within 25 feet of a primary public pedestrian entrance to, or an operable window of an enclosed area in which smoking is prohibited; the seating area of an outdoor arena, stadium or amphitheater; and inside restaurants and bars.
Mayor Becky Ames, who was one of four members of the City Council who voted for the ordinance, said the results support the benefits of a ban for smokers and non-smokers alike.
“Smoking not only harms smokers, but it is detrimental to the health of those around them. I am extremely pleased to see that data has borne out what we believed, that a ban on smoking in public places would improve the health and quality of life for our citizens.”
Discharge data for the study were provided by the Texas Department of State Health Services from the Texas Hospital Inpatient Discharge Public Use Data File. To read the full study, www.cdc.gov.