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"The need for protection from secondhand smoke in all workplaces and public places has never been clearer," said Matthew Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, in a prepared statement. He is president of the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy organization.
But the study had limitations: It assumed declines in the amount of secondhand smoke in Pueblo buildings after the ban, but did not try to measure that. The researchers also did not sort out which heart attack patients were smokers and which were not, so it's unclear how much of the decline can be attributed to reduced secondhand smoke.
One academic argued there's not enough evidence to conclude the smoking ban was the cause of Pueblo's heart attack decline.
The decline could have had more to do with a general decline in smoking in Pueblo County, from about 26 percent in 2002-2003 to less than 21 percent in 2004-2005. If there were stepped-up efforts to treat or prevent heart disease in the Pueblo area, that too could have played a role, said Dr. Michael Siegel, a professor of social and behavioral sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health.
"I don't think it's as clear as they're making it out to be," Siegel said.
On the Net:
CDC publication: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/
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