A study published this week in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology concluded that smoke-fee laws reduced asthma emergency room visits by more than a fifth.
University of Kentucky researchers assessed emergency room visits for asthma in the Lexington area before and after the enactment of a county-wide smoke –free law. They found that, after 32 months in effect, the smoke free law dropped asthma emergency room visits by 22%. Those are HUGE numbers for Kentucky!
What does that mean for Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, there were over 22,000 hospital emergency room visits for asthma last year costing over $17 million, according to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. While the research can’t be extrapolated directly, a one-fifth drop in asthma visits in this state would save $3.4 million.
About 13 percent of Wisconsin’s population suffers from lifetime asthma, a chronic lung condition triggered by allergies, viral infections and irritants like tobacco smoke.
When Wisconsin goes completely Smoke-free, the citizens of the state could save as much as $3.4 million in asthma visits alone. When you add in the cost of all other health complications caused by second-hand smoke the savings in health care is quite significant.
It’s time for Wisconsin to go smoke-free, it’s time to save hard working Wisconsinites millions of dollars in health care costs.