ER visits for heart attacks, asthma went down in North Carolina 21 percent after smoking ban was passed


Oh, man, I remember back in the day on those old Topix forums, this story drove the smokers’ rights crowd crazy. It just sent them into a tizzy of “lies! lies! lies! Junk science!”

Well, for whatever reason, that “junk science” has been confirmed repeatedly. ER admissions for heart attacks drop, and sometimes dramatically, after indoor smoking bans are put in place.

According to a study in from the North Carolina Department of Health, admissions at hospitals for heart attacks dropped 21 percent in the first year of that state’s statewide smoking ban. The state also says admissions for asthma dropped 9 percent after the ban was imposed. (A Fox station did a story on the five-year anniversary and of course Fox questioned those numbers. They found a doctor who didn’t believe the numbers. But, did that doctor have any data to back up that assertion other than his anecdotal opinion …? No, of course not. After all, it’s FOX! What do you expect?)

There was kind of a flurry of stories on this 21 percent drop-off from North Carolina because this month was the five-year anniversary of the full-fledged smoking ban in that state. If I remember right, it was the first full smoking ban in any Southern state … and in fact, North Carolina is still the only Southern state with a full smoking ban. Other Southern states such as Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Louisiana still allow smoking in bars. And Virginia has a funky, confusing smoking ban that in effect banned smoking in most bars and restaurants.