In 2007, NH passed the Indoor Smoking Act that went into effect, banning smoking in schools, child daycare facilities, hospitals, grocery stores, elevators and public conveyances (except when rented for private purposes), restaurants, bars, and private clubs when open to the public. Between 1991 and 2008 a total of 32 states passed similar smoking bans all of which were hotly debated but ultimately passed for a variety of reasons including the impact of second hand smoke on the personal liberties of nonsmokers. NHMS strongly supported the Indoor Smoking Act and we were proud to be part of the advocacy effort to pass the bill. You may be thinking, why is this newsworthy today?

A new analysis in the journal Health Affairs, looked at the impact of these and local smoking bans on admissions for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in every county affected by a ban.  Each month following the implementation of smoking bans, admissions dropped for both diagnoses with a maximal benefit being noted by 36 months.  Risk adjusted AMI hospitalizations dropped by 20% and COPD admissions were 15% less than expected. This truly is excellent news and is validation that our advocacy efforts are having an impact not just in the legislature but for the people of New Hampshire.  However, much needs to be done as nearly 1 in 5 of NH youths and adults are active smokers.  

So what can you do?  Continue to ask your patients about the smoking status and assist them in quitting.  But perhaps more importantly, you can join the NHMS effort to ensure the statutory restoration of the additional 10 cents on the current tobacco tax and perhaps even raise it higher.  We are in the early phases of planning our advocacy efforts and we need your help!  Please contact NHMS if you are interested in joining the campaign.