Clean Indoor Air Act having impact, CABNR researcher finds

An impact study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno has found that the Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act is not only good public policy but also good for the economy. In the study, hospital admissions in Nevada for second-hand smoke-sensitive health problems declined between 2007, when the NCIAA was implemented, and 2009.

The researchers - Chris Pritsos, chair of the nutrition department in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, Wei Yang of the University of Nevada, Reno and John Packham of the University of Nevada School of Medicine - also found that hospital-billed charges for treating acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and stroke significantly decreased from 2007 to 2009.

"The Nevada Clean Indoor Air Act is not only having a positive health effect on Nevadans but is reducing health care costs for the state and federal governments," Pritsos, the study's lead author, said. "Imagine the lives and costs savings to Nevada if this ban were expanded to cover all segments of the population."

Since the NCIAA started in 2007, hospital admissions in Nevada for AMI decreased an average of 346 per year while admissions for stroke decreased an average of 315 per year. Hospital bills decreased an annual average of $23.5 million for AMI (including about $900,000 for Medicaid and $7.5 million for Medicare) and $9.8 million for stroke (including $600,000 for Medicaid and $4 million for Medicare).

The research was discussed at the first-ever National Smokefree Gaming Symposium in Las Vegas. Pritsos talked about his research with other anti-smoking activists and casino workers lobbying the state to pass a statewide ban on smoking inside casinos. Casinos are one of the few places where the NCIAA did not ban public smoking. Pritsos has also appeared on "Jon Ralston's Face to Face" Bill Brown's "Face the State" to discuss his findings on smoke-free laws in Nevada