The evidence supporting smoke-free policies is overwhelming and continues to grow. A first-of-its-kind health study has demonstrated again that the health benefits of smoke-free laws are significant and immediate. In the latest edition of the American Heart Association scientific journal Circulation, a new study found ambulance calls to Gilpin County casinos (Black Hawk and Central City) decreased by about 20 percent in the year following the implementation of the state smoke-free casino law in 2008. This was the first study to look at ambulance calls before and after a smoke-free law. The ambulance study, conducted by Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., of the University of California of San Francisco, analyzed the number of ambulance calls over 12 years in Gilpin County. Glantz is one the nation’s leading experts on tobacco use, secondhand smoke and its impact on heart disease.
This news follows two other Colorado studies that showed the dramatic impact smoke-free laws have on heart disease. A landmark 2005 study demonstrated that in the 18 months following the adoption of a local smoke-free law in Pueblo Colorado, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped 27 percent. At that time, the Pueblo Heart Study was just the second in the world to demonstrate a reduction in hospital heart attack admissions following the implementation of a smoke-free law. Since then, more than 40 such studies have been conducted worldwide with similar results, including two more in Colorado. An additional Pueblo study showed a 41 percent reduction in heart attack admissions three years following the implementation of Pueblo’s law. A Greeley, Colorado study following the implementation of a smoke-free law there showed a 27 percent reduction in heart attack admissions in the next year, with the greatest reduction in heart attack admissions of 56% for people who smoke.