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Smoking ban leads to major drop in heart attacks

Associated Press - December 31, 2008 3:53 PM ET

ATLANTA (AP) - A government study suggests that secondhand smoke is a very serious public health threat.

The study by the CDC says a smoking ban in a Colorado city led to a dramatic drop in heart attack hospitalizations within three years.

The study, the longest-running of its kind, showed the rate of hospitalized cases dropped 41% in the three years after the ban of workplace smoking in Pueblo, Colo., took effect. There was no such drop in two neighboring areas. Researchers believe it's a clear sign the ban was responsible.

1 of the researchers says the study suggests that secondhand smoke may be a terrible and under-recognized cause of heart attack deaths in this country.

At least eight earlier studies have linked smoking bans to decreased heart attacks, but none ran as long as three years.

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