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Smoking bans are beneficial for cardiac wellness

Category: Cancer Detection and Tumor Markers

According to MedPage Today, a new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine revealed that smoking bans can help decrease the risk of cardiac-related deaths in the population.

Research conducted by Richard D. Hurt, M.D., of the Nicotine Dependence Center at the Mayo Clinic, and his team of colleagues found that when governments enacted laws requiring restaurants and places of work to ban smoking inside, the rate of heart attacks declined by by an average of about 33 percent. The researchers also found that when smoking bans were implemented in Olmstead County, Mich., where one of the Mayo Clinic centers is located, the rate of sudden cardiac death declined by nearly 17 percent.

"Exposure to secondhand smoke should be considered a modifiable risk factor for [heart attack]," the researchers wrote. "All people should avoid secondhand smoke exposure as much as possible, and those with coronary heart disease should have no exposure to secondhand smoke."

The researchers noted that smoking bans should be instituted in other public settings like multi-unit housing, motor vehicles, casinos and outdoor locations. Also, current loopholes in smoke-free laws should be eliminated, the authors suggested.

Smoking statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States in 2010, a total of 22.8 percent of males between 18 and 24 years old smoked, while 17.4 percent of females in that same age group smoked. That same year, nearly 20 percent of males and females between 45 and 64 years old smoked.

The CDC also reports that cigarettes are the cause of almost 20 percent of all deaths in the U.S., with an annual fatality rate of 443,000 - of which 49,4000 cases are caused by secondhand smoke exposure. Adults who smoke usually have a lifespan that's 14 years less than non-smokers. The source predicts that based on the current data, almost 25 million Americans who are alive today will die from a smoking-related ailment, 5 million of whom will be under 18 years old at their time of death.

Related illnesses
One cardiovascular ailment that can be linked to smoking is peripheral vascular disease, when the blood vessels narrow due to poor circulation. This can lead to pain, damaged tissue and gangrene, the CDC reports. It also can cause respiratory illnesses like bronchitis and emphysema, which can detected with a lab test

Smoking can also be attributed to a slew of cancers, including those that affect the bladder, cervix, lungs, pancreas, throat and stomach. Smoking during pregnancy is also associated with pediatric problems like low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome.


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