Researchers from Bath University have concluded that the smoking ban has resulted in 1,200 fewer heart attack hospital admission in the year following the introduction of the legislation. The study analysed data from the period between July 2002 – September 2008. By studying the five year period prior to the ban, researchers were able to determine annual trends in terms of heart attack hospital admissions, and then apply these past trends to a hypothetical scenario in which the smoking ban had not been introduced. These figures were then compared to actual data compiled throughout the 12 months after the commencement of the ban.
The outcome was that the ban has potentially decreased the number of heart attack patients by 2.4%. The predicted figures can be translated as an £8 million saving for the NHS, and the prevention of circa 180 deaths. Every year approximately 141,000 people in the UK suffer a heart attack, about a third of die before arriving at a hospital. Within the hospital though, the survival rate is 85%, in which case, of a group of 1,200, 180 would not recover.
Although demonstrating obvious association between the smoking ban and the lower number of heart attack admissions in England, the study fails to investigate on a more comprehensive level. It remains impossible to say with any degree of certainty to what extent the ban has had on the overall numbers of heart attack patients, with other factors such as an unhealthy diet, excessive alcohol consumption and a lack of exercise all major causes of cardiac problems. Furthermore, the research does not investigate the smoking status of patients or their experience of passive smoking prior to the ban.
Since 2002 there has been a steady decrease in the number of heart attack hospital admissions, a fact cited by anti-non-smoking campaigners who suggest that the latest figures simply conform to the yearly fall in emergency heart attack admissions. However, this is not an accurate interpretation of the study. As aforementioned, the data was arrived at through a comparison of two scenarios; one in which the ban had not been created, and the other the reality in which we live.
This piece of legislation has clearly gone some way to addressing the health issues associated with smoking. There is however, much more that can be done by individuals. The benefits of not smoking can be felt in one’s health, lifestyle, and finances. By giving up the habit, one is far less likely to suffer from cancer and heart problems, and will find that they save a small fortune not only on the purchase of cigarettes or cigars, but also on financial products such as life insurance, which can be three or four times more expensive for a smoker.
Source by Harvey McEwan