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Monday, January 5

Smoking ban leads to major drop in heart attacks

ATLANTA – A smoking ban in one Colorado city led to a dramatic drop in heart attack hospitalizations within three years, a sign of just how serious a health threat secondhand smoke is, government researchers said Wednesday. The study, the longest-running of its kind, showed the rate of hospitalized cases dropped 41 percent in the three years after the ban of workplace smoking in Pueblo, Colo., took effect. There was no such drop in two neighboring areas, and researchers believe it's a clear sign the ban was responsible.

The study suggests that secondhand smoke may be a terrible and under-recognized cause of heart attack deaths in this country, said one of its authors, Terry Pechacek of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At least eight earlier studies have linked smoking bans to decreased heart attacks, but none ran as long as three years. The new study looked at heart attack hospitalizations for three years following the July 1, 2003 enactment of Pueblo's ban, and found declines as great or greater than those in earlier research.
Interestingly, this morning while I was at the doctor and was telling him that my quit smoking date was 2 weeks from now he suggested that I take Chantix and wrote me a prescription. He told me I would have much more success staying off the smoking if I took it. Naturally, I asked him (he's my shrink after all) about the suicidal side effects I keep hearing about. He proceeded to tell me that smoking is suicidal behavior and that the government is behind the suicide scare because they don't really want you to quit. They want you to die before you receive Medicare and why do I think that the states go nuts when they stop receiving the revenues they get from cigarette taxes. This was the first time he ever sounded like a conspiracy theorist, but he did make a lot of sense... especially the part about smoking being a suicidal behavior. So today, I start the Chantix. What the hell.

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