Interoffice Memo: Smoking Ban Reduces ER Visits

Ireland's pulmonary-related emergency room visits were reduced after a workplace ban on smoking

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Much has been noted about cleaning houses for allergy and asthma attack prevention. Now workplace air quality is eyed as a way to further reduce the suffering of those with respiratory difficulties. 

Researchers from Dublin reviewed hospital records before and after a smoking ban was implemented in Dublin. The luck o' the Irish comes through again after workplace smoking was outlawed, thus reducing emergency room visits for pulmonary related illnesses including asthma attacks.

"Reduced second hand smoke exposure in the workplace improves lung health."

Imran Sulaiman, MD, pulmonology resident at Galway University Hospital in Galway, Ireland, who led the study noted that there was very little data evaluating smoking ban effects on the working-age population––until now. 

Sulaiman's study compared admissions before and after the workplace smoking ban. He and his associates observed a significant reduction in emergency admissions due to cardiopulmonary disease. Workers in their 20's had the greatest reduction in hospital visits from respiratory-related illnesses.

Emergency asthma admissions also decreased after the smoking ban. Acute coronary syndrome hospitalizations also dipped, especially in 50-69 year old men. There was no difference observed in cerebrovascular disease emergency room visits.

The Study

  • Data gathered from Hospital Inpatient Enquiry (HIPE),  a database system which collects demographic, clinical and administrative data on discharges and deaths from hospitals nationwide
  • Admissions records reviewed for emergency pulmonary, cardiac and cerebrovascular for the two years before and the two years the workplace smoking ban
  • Population, weather, pollution and influenza data noted for two years prior and two years after the workplace smoking ban
  • Evaluation was restricted to the working-age population (age 20-70 years)
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Review Date: 
May 13, 2011
Last Updated:
May 26, 2011