Background: The implementation of workplace smoking bans has contributed to a significant reduction in the incidence of acute coronary syndrome admissions, but their influence on adult acute pulmonary disease admissions is unclear. We sought to assess the impact of a national smoking ban on nationwide admissions of individuals of working age with acute pulmonary illness.
Methods: Data relating to emergency hospital admissions of subjects aged 20 to 70 years preceding and succeeding the implementation of the Irish smoking ban were obtained from a central registry. Population, weather, pollution, and influenza data were obtained from the relevant authorities. Poisson regression analysis was used to assess adjusted risk of emergency hospital admission following implementation of the smoking ban.
Results: Overall admissions with pulmonary illness decreased from 439 per 100,000 population per annum to 396 per 100,000 population per annum following the ban (unadjusted relative risk [RR], 0.91; 95% CI, 0.83-0.99; P = .048). This persisted following adjustment for confounding factors (adjusted RR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.72-0.99; P = .04) and was most marked among younger age groups and in admissions due to asthma (adjusted RR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.39-0.91; P = .016). Admissions with acute coronary syndromes (adjusted RR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.70-0.97; P = .02), but not stroke (adjusted RR, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.73-1.20; P = .60), were also reduced.
Conclusions: The implementation of a nationwide workplace smoking ban is associated with a decline in admissions with acute pulmonary disease among specific age groups and an overall reduction in asthma admissions. This may result from reduced exposure of vulnerable individuals to environmental tobacco smoke, emphasizing the potential benefit of legislation reducing second-hand smoke exposure.