Published in Volume 15, Issue 1, Spring April 1, 2008, pages 13-14.
Copyright © 2009 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. The definitive version is available at Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Online.
Recent newspaper articles have heralded studies concluding that smoking bans lead to dramatic decreases in the annual incidence of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Coupled with studies concluding that bans never harm businesses and that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) significantly endangers health of nonsmokers, studies claiming AMI reduction have provided governments with additional evidence to support bans in the name of public health.
Some communities have expanded bans from workplaces to include parks, beaches, and other open areas, based on this growing body of evidence. This commentary argues that, as with distorted claims regarding economic harm and ETS, recent studies concluding that bans lower AMI incidence misrepresent public health benefits of bans.