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Health Benefits of the 2008 Iowa Smokefree Air Act
Christopher Squier , Dept of Oral Pathology, College of Dentistry, University of Iowa William Haynes, Dept of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Iowa JoAnn Muldoon, Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control and Iowa Diabetes Control Program,
Iowa Dept. Public Health A large number of studies, summarized in a November 2009 report from the Institute of Medicine, show decreases in heart attacks after the institution of smoking bans, ranging from 6 to 47%. We now have evidence that the Iowa Smokefree Air Act, introduced in July 2008, is having similarly beneficial effects. Using data submitted to the Iowa Department of Public Health from hospitals across Iowa, we have looked at the number of monthly hospitalizations between July 2005 and June 2009 for a variety of cardiovascular diseases and conditions that are caused or exacerbated by tobacco smoke and smoking. We have also looked at ‘control’ conditions, such as infections of the kidney or pancreatitis, that would not be expected to be altered by exposure to tobacco smoke. The results show large decreases in hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases in the year that the Smokefree Air Act was implemented (2008-9), compared to the average of the previous three years (20058). This data can be seen in the Figures below. Coronary heart disease is the single greatest cause of death in the United States. With the introduction of the Smokefree Air Act, there was an average 24% reduction in hospital admissions, representing 2324 fewer Iowans with this condition, compared to the average of the preceding three years. The benefit appears to be getting larger over time, with a more than 40% decrease in coronary heart disease admissions in June 2009 compared to June 2008.

Acute myocardial infarctions or heart attacks are the leading cause of death for men and women worldwide. With the introduction of the Smokefree Air Act, there was an 8%
reduction in hospital admissions, representing 483 fewer Iowans with this condition, compared to the average of the preceding three years.

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Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the US and the number two cause of death worldwide. With the introduction of the Smokefree Air Act, there was an 5% reduction in hospital
admissions, representing 347 fewer Iowans with this condition, compared to the average of the preceding three years.

Admission rates for ‘control’ conditions, that would not be expected to be affected by the smoking ban (kidney infections, pancreatitis), did not change after the institution of the smoking ban in 2008.

What are the implications of this data? • The Iowa Smokefree Air Act has already reduced the risk of debilitative or fatal cardiovascular disease for thousands of Iowans. • It is important to protect the law and ensure that it is adequately enforced so as to retain this protection. • This means protecting the budget of the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control.