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Doctors: Heart attack study is accurate

Colorado study could have implications for Burbank smokers.

January 07, 2009|By Zain Shauk

“It doesn’t surprise me that there’s improvement, but the magnitude of the improvement is, I think, quite remarkable,” said Sato, adding that the results reinforce the connection between secondhand smoke and heart disease, which could be reduced locally because of recent laws.

Burbank’s law forbids smoking in its downtown and within 20 feet of public buildings, parks and the city’s Chandler Bikeway.

The Glendale City Council passed its own anti-smoking ordinance in November, banning smoking on public property, including parks, and at publicly accessible private property like shopping malls, service lines and parking lots.

California law, like the law enacted in Pueblo, already bans smoking in most workplaces, restaurants and bars.

Since local laws are more comprehensive than those in Pueblo, the local health benefits could be even greater than those found in the Pueblo study, but it would not be easy to track results here, experts said.

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“All the heart attacks would go to one of two hospitals [in Pueblo],” Nevin-Woods said of the city, which is geographically isolated from other nearby towns. “It couldn’t be done in the Los Angeles area because people could go to a hospital 40 miles away and you couldn’t track that.”

While the study may not show that the anti-smoking law was the sole cause for the decrease in heart attack patients in Pueblo, more stringent laws in Glendale and Burbank will benefit residents, said Santo Polito, a cardiologist and the director of the heart center at Glendale Memorial Hospital.

Polito’s patients who smoke sometimes continue with the habit after having open-heart surgery, he said, explaining that smoking and secondhand smoke are major causes of heart disease that should be avoided.

“It’s like you have an open wound and you’re trying to pour dirt in there to see if it’ll heal,” he said of those who go back to their smoking routines.


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