Smoking Bans and Heart-attack Rates
Minnesota implemented the first statewide smoking ban in 1975, and since then, 30 other states and more than 350 cities and towns have enacted restrictions. A meta-study by the Institute of Medicine indicates that the health benefits of such legislation are both immediate and significant.
Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2009 report, “Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects,” looked at 11 U.S. and European studies on the health effects of smoking bans. Based on the studies examined, the researchers concluded:
- All studies showed a significant reduction in heart attacks after bans were introduced, from 6% to 47%.
- Heart-attack rates begin to fall quickly after bans are introduced.
- Exposure to secondhand smoke significantly increased the chance of both smokers and nonsmokers having a heart attack.
- Secondhand-smoke exposure increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 25% to 30%.
The researchers’ findings confirm those of an earlier report from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. It determined that heart-attack rates drop 17% after smoking bans are instituted.
Tags: medicine, metastudy, tobacco
Read the Institute of Medicine study titled "Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects."
- Summarize the study in fewer than 40 words.
- Express the study's key term(s) in language a lay audience can understand.
- Evaluate the study's limitations. (For example: Do the results conflict with those of other reliable studies? Are there weaknesses in the study's data or research design?)
Read the issue-related New York Times article titled "For Some Smokers, Even Home Is Off Limits."
- If you were to rewrite the article based on knowledge of the Institute of Medicine study, what key changes would you make?
- Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study.
- Spend 60 minutes exploring the issue by accessing sources of information other than the study. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study but informed by the new information. Does the new information significantly change what one would write based on the study alone?
- Interview two sources with a stake in or knowledge of the issue. Be prepared to provide them with a short summary of the study in order to get their response to it. Write a 400-word article about the study incorporating material from the interviews.
- Spend additional time exploring the issue and then write a 1,200-word background article, focusing on major aspects of the issue.