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Smoke-Free Workplace Laws Provide Blueprint for Prevention

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 31, 2012

As a result, she says "we have seen a decrease in asthmas, asthma exacerbations, asthma visits to the emergency room, asthma hospitalizations, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We have seen a decline in the visits to our offices for acute problems and urgent care and emergency rooms and hospitalizations."

It's intriguing to consider what other public health problems out there might be dramatically reduced with well-crafted legislation. Could we see the same sorts of reductions in medical events with laws or public policies that tackle obesity?

"We would love to cut back on the availability of high-calorie lunches in schools," Yawn says. "There are other ways to get them those fruits and vegetables besides sugary juice and fried foods. We would all like to turn to school lunches because those kids are captive. What can we do to help in that arena because we know that obesity doesn't start when you are 25 or 30 or 40? It starts in school and you eating habits there."

The leaders and medical professionals in the nation's community hospitals, who are among the most trusted and respected people in their communities, are particularly well suited to press for these sorts of public policy changes.

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