"Most of us thought we'd see a reduction of maybe 10% or 15%, but the studies have been quite remarkable," Yawn told HealthLeaders Media.
Yawn did not take part in the JAMA study but says those findings are consistent with a study she conducted that examines cardiac and respiratory events related to smoking and air pollution. The study will be published in the American Journal of Public Health.
"We looked at air pollution levels before and after the smoking ban in public places and there is a substantial difference," she says. "Even when we have fairly high air pollution levels, all of the cardiac and breathing problems don't go up nearly as high any more. It was the combination of air pollution and these smoking in public places that were giving us a double whammy. Now we have at least taken the one away that we can control."
Minnesota's hospitals have been smoke-free for more than 10 years. That public smoking ban has been extended to restaurants, bars, and retail stores. "You pretty much can't smoke anywhere except outdoors and away from buildings," Yawn says.