Civitas Review

Report Makes Stretch to Link Smoke Free Law and Fewer Heart Attacks


A report from the epidemiology branch of the State Department of Health and Human Services claims the law banning smoking in bars and restaurants led to fewer visits to emergency rooms for heart attacks. The smoke free law went into effect January 1, 2010. The report follows the number of emergency room visits starting in 2008 through 2010. The cases of heart attack complaints were already declining long before the smoke free law took effect. Emergency room visits for heart attacks dropped from 9,066 to 8,113 from 2008 to 2009. They fell to 7,669 in 2010, but the report can't indicate how many of those thousands went to a bar or restaurant.

The authors of the report even admit the link is weak.

"While it is impossible to tease out the exact magnitude of effect of the N.C. Restaurants and Bars Law, it is likely that it contributed to this decline."

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