Brian C. Harrington M.D.: Seriously beneficial

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To the editor:

Sometimes, the decisions our City Council makes can be as serious as a heart attack.

This summer the city implemented a nonsmoking ordinance for Steamboat Springs. A newly released major heart study conducted in Pueblo showed a nearly 30 percent reduction in hospitalizations for heart attacks in the period after a comprehensive smoke-free indoor air ordinance was enacted within the city limits. This follows up a similar study done in 2004 in Helena, Mont., which also showed a drop in heart attack rates after implementing a comprehensive smoke-free indoor air ordinance.

Numerous health studies have documented an ever-growing list of health problems and diseases caused by breathing second-hand smoke in adults and children. Some of the most strongly associated health effects of breathing second-hand smoke include the occurrence of breast cancer in younger, primarily premenopausal women, low birth weight and an overall decrease in birth weight, sudden Infant Death Syndrome, pre-term delivery, nasal sinus cancer, acute bronchitis and pneumonia in children, and the onset of asthma in adults

Many tobacco smokers now understand and accept that tobacco smoking can be bad for their health and the health of those around them who are exposed to second-hand smoke. Even tobacco companies, such as Philip Morris, say that they agree "with the overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema and other serious diseases in smokers." However many smokers find quitting smoking to be difficult. Smoking is addictive and habit forming, and many smokers find smoking to be enjoyable.

As your community primary care providers, we want to highlight the health benefits of Steamboat's new nonsmoking ordinance.

We think it will save lives and reduce illness. The new heart study from Pueblo adds dramatic new evidence that supports the decision our City Council made on the nonsmoking ordinance. On Nov. 17, the American Cancer Society sponsored the 29th annual Great American Smokeout. Take the opportunity now to quit the habit.

See your primary care provider for help, call the Colorado Quit Line at 1-800-639-QUIT or visit www.coloradoguidelines.org/pdf_files/tobacco/PT_QuitlineFacts.pdf.

The following primary health care providers supported this letter: Physicians Kevin Borgerding, Jim Dudley, Ron Famiglietti, Sheila Fountain, Lisa Harner, Rosanne Iversen, Jennifer Kembers, Lambert Orton, Mark McCaulley, Dan Smilkstein, Steve Ross, Louise Thielen, David Williams, Kristin Wilson; and Physician's Assistants Allison Bowdre, Petra Chladak, Margo Collette, Frankie Hannah.

Brian C. Harrington M.D.

Steamboat Springs

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