Take Heart: Arizona Smoking Ban a Success

PHOENIX – A pair of studies released this week show indoor smoking bans in public buildings lead to a 17-percent decrease in heart attack rates during the first year. After three years, one study showed smoking bans reduced heart attacks by up to 36 percent. Arizona’s own voter-approved smoking ban has been in effect just over two years.

Harmony Duport, acting program manager for Smoke-Free Arizona, says compliance today is excellent.

“The first month, which was May of 2007, we received fourteen hundred complaints. But, this past month in August, we received 115. So, the complaint numbers have significantly dropped.”

Though no studies linking the smoking ban to a reduction in heart attacks have yet been done in Arizona, Duport expects the state’s results to be similar to others. A large number of the complaints received these days involve misunderstandings more than violations, she adds.

“The Smoke-Free Arizona Act does not cover exposure to second-hand smoke outside. So, we get complaints about somebody possibly walking past people smoking on a patio, when in fact smoking outside is not a violation of the Act.”

Before passage of the smoking ban, Arizona bar and restaurant owners were openly worried that, if their customers couldn’t smoke, they would go out of business. Duport says it didn’t happen.

“A study by the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU showed no economic impact on bars and restaurants or any other places that were required after the Act went into effect to be smoke-free.”

Arizona is one of 31 state that prohibit smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars.

The studies may be found in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

source: http://www.publicnewsservice.org/

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