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The Battle Against Smoking

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Every time we turn around, it seems, another study somewhere is validating the health benefits of not smoking, as well as the value of taking societal steps to curb the use of tobacco.

Most recently, two independent national studies reached the same dramatic conclusion - public smoking bans result in an immediate and significant decline in heart attacks. For example, the annual heart attack rate in Helena, Montana went down 40 percent after the city banned smoking in public. Other cities studied throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe reported similar results. The studies are further validation of the movement in Utah in recent years to ban smoking in most public places.

It is also significant to note that a new Health Department report shows the state's adult smoking rate is now just 9.1 percent. Clearly, smoking bans and tobacco cessation programs are working and resulting in a healthier populace.

Still, nearly 190,000 people in Utah smoke and more than a thousand of our neighbors die each year because of their addiction. That, in KSL's view, justifies ongoing efforts to reduce tobacco use even further, including a much talked about increase in the tax on tobacco products.

For the benefit of all, the battle against smoking must continue unabated.

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