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Short-term effects observed With passive smoking
Neil Campbell
4/14/2004

Considerations for a national ban on smoking in public places have become more prominent as new research suggests that the effects of such a ban may be as dramatic as halving the number of heart attacks.

The study in question occurred in Helena, Mont., a town that imposed a ban in June 2002 targeting all public places such as factories, bars, offices, restaurants and all public enclosed spaces. The ban was in existence for six months before it was overturned by way of legal challenges from opponents of the law.

The local hospital noted an immediate drop in the number of heart attack patients admitted during those six months, from an average of 40 down to 24. The number of heart attack patients increased after the ban was removed.

While passive smoking, or exposure to second-hand smoke, has been shown to have long- term effects such as an increased risk of lung cancer and heart disease, it also has short term effects on the stickiness of the blood and the elasticity of the arteries, factors that come into play in determining the risk of a heart attack.

A study in the online edition of the British Medical Journal (www.bmj.com) shows that nonsmokers who live with smokers average a 15 percent increase in the risk of premature death in comparison to those who have a smoke-free environment.

Ireland recently became the first country in the world to enact a national ban, banning smoking in all pubs across the nation.

Neil Campbell writes for The Epoch Times.

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