Isle of Man News - POSTED Mon 13-12-2010

Positive Health Benefits of the Isle of Man Smoking Ban

by Jonathan Davies

The Department of Health’s Public Health Directorate have recently reviewed Noble’s Hospital admission data to determine whether there has been an adjustment for heart attack admissions after legislation which placed a ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces and workplaces was introduced in the Isle of Man in 2008.

Ms Howda Jwad, a mathematics student, analysed the admission records for heart attacks during the two years prior to the implementation of the smoke free legislation and for the two years following the ban (April 2006 to March 2010). The statistical analysis of the data shows that there was a significant reduction in the rate of admissions to Noble’s Hospital for heart attacks amongst males aged over 54.

Minister for Health, Mr David Anderson MHK said, “It is encouraging to see positive benefits arising out of the Island’s anti-Tobacco legislation and this finding supports the Government in its drive to prevent conditions that negatively impact on health from arising rather than just treating the disease effects of some of our lifestyle habits.”

Thankfully, the number of heart attacks amongst women and young men are very low in the Isle of Man, which means that it will take several more years before any meaningful statistical adjustment might be demonstrated in these demographic groups. These local findings echo those found in other areas such as Scotland, the United States of America and Italy following the introduction there of similar legislation.

Dr Paul Emerson, Consultant in Public Health Medicine said, “There is a lot of good quality evidence linking tobacco smoke with heart attacks and other heart disease, strokes and cancers, including lung cancer. Heart attacks are among the top three causes of premature death in the Isle of Man. We are pleased to be able to demonstrate a local positive health effect resulting from the tobacco legislation.”

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