Objectives: Reductions in exposure to environmental tobacco smoke have been shown to attenuate the risk of cardiovascular disease. We examined whether the 2003 implementation of a comprehensive smoking ban in New York State was associated with reduced hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction and stroke, beyond the effect of moderate, local and statewide smoking restrictions, and independent of secular trends.
Methods: We analyzed trends in county-level, age-adjusted, monthly hospital admission rates for acute myocardial infarction and stroke from 1995 to 2004 to identify any association between admission rates and implementation of the smoking ban. We used regression models to adjust for the effects of pre-existing smoking restrictions, seasonal trends in admissions, differences across counties, and secular trends.
Results: In 2004, there were 3813 fewer hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction than would have been expected in the absence of the comprehensive smoking ban. Direct health care cost savings of $56 million were realized in 2004. There was no reduction in the number of admissions for stroke.
Conclusions: Hospital admission rates for acute myocardial infarction were reduced by 8% as a result of a comprehensive smoking ban in New York State after we controlled for other relevant factors. Comprehensive smoking bans constitute a simple, effective intervention to substantially improve the public's health.