Smoking Cessation

Long-term benefits of smoke-free public places

 Several studies have reported that laws making indoor workplaces and public places smoke-free are associated with reductions in hospitalizations due to acute heart attacks.

Now, results from The Pueblo Heart Study show benefits 36 months after the smoke-free ordinance in Pueblo, Colorado went into effect.

First, the details.

  • Pueblo has a law that makes it illegal to smoke cigarettes in indoor workplaces and public places — smoke-free.
  • Hospitalizations for acute heart attack in Pueblo vs surrounding communities that do not have a smoke-free law were compared.
    • 0 to 18 months before the law
    • 0 to 18 months after the law
    • 19 to 36 months after the law
  • There was no overlap in the communities served by the Pueblo hospitals compared to the surrounding community hospitals surveyed.

And, the results.

  • There were 399 hospital admissions for heart attacks in Pueblo during the 18 months before the smoke-free ordinance took effect.
  • 19 to 36 months after the law went into effect, there were 237 heart attack hospitalizations — a 41% decline.
  • The hospitals serving communities with no smoke-free law did not see a decline.

The bottom line?
There had been a 27% drop in the rate of heart attack hospitalizations during the first 18 months after the ordinance was enacted compared to 18 months before the smoke-free policy took effect.

What’s special about The Pueblo Heart Study is the initial reduction in heart attack hospitalizations after a smoke-free law took effect was sustained for 3 years.

1/5/09 19:24 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.