Air Pollution Triggers More Heart Attacks Than Cocaine

Quick, what causes more heart attacks: cocaine or air pollution? It's actually air pollution, which triggers roughly five to seven percent of all heart attacks. Whereas cocaine is responsible for only 0.9 percent of all heart attacks. Of course, cocaine is much more dangerous on a personal level. Yet, studies like this make us wonder why we spend so much effort on the war on drugs, when environmental efforts like cleaning up air pollution remain such contentious issues.

The study, conducted by Tim Nawrot of Hasselt University in Belgium and published in the journal The Lancet, set out to find the major culprits of heart attacks on a population-wide level.

The study found that culprits like exposure to traffic, physical exertion, alcohol, coffee, and air pollution caused the most heart attacks. Things like anger, sex, cocaine use, smoking marijuana, and respiratory infections were responsible for fewer attacks.

Remember, though, that many more people are exposed to things like traffic and air pollution than cocaine. On a personal level, you have a bigger risk of getting a heart attack due to drug abuse than say, sitting in traffic on a smog-filled highway. Though, more people end up being exposed to pollution than cocaine.

The World Health Organization estimates that air pollution leads to about 2 million deaths worldwide each year.

While almost all politicians seem to step in line with the war on drugs, it makes you wonder why fewer can agree on ways to limit factors that cause air pollution, considering it's a greater threat to the health of far more citizen.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >