Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thanks for not smoking…

The No Smoking sign, designed by one of the me...Image via Wikipedia

Heart attacks reduced considerably in countries where lighting up is banned

LONDON - The ban on smoking in public places could reduce heart attacks by more than a third in some parts of the world, say researchers.

Two independent health reviews have found that heart attack rates dropped steeply in areas where bans have been introduced, with one reporting 36 per cent fewer cases three years after smoke-free legislation came in.

Smoking in pubs, restaurants and other public spaces was banned in England and Wales in July 2007, a year after similar laws were introduced in Scotland.

The Scottish ban led to a 14 per cent fall in the number of people being admitted to hospital with a heart attack the following year.

A Department of Health study of heart attack rates in England and Wales is not due to report until next year, but experts believe the number of cases in the regions has already fallen by around 10 per cent as a result of the smoking ban.

The latest reviews, which draw on published studies from the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Ireland and Scotland, suggest heart attacks in Britain will fall even further over the next two years.

"While we obviously won't bring heart attack rates to zero, these findings give us evidence that in the short to medium term, smoking bans will prevent a lot of heart attacks," said Dr James Lightwood, a health economist at the University of California in San Francisco, and co-author of one of the reviews, published in the US Journal Circulation.

Dr Lightwood analysed 13 published reports on heart attacks in countries or states where smoking bans have been introduced.

A year after the bans were introduced, heart attacks had fallen by an average of 17 per cent. After three years, the number of heart attacks had dropped by 36 per cent.

"This study adds to the already strong evidence that second-hand smoke causes heart attacks, and that passing 100 per cent smoke-free laws in all work places and public places is something we can do to protect the public," Dr Lightwood said.

Heart attacks may fall more modestly in Britain than other European countries because many workplaces imposed smoking bans before nationwide laws were passed.

A second review, by Mr David Meyers at the University of Kansas, drew on 10 studies from the same regions.

His report, which is published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found heart attacks had fallen by 17 per cent on average a year after smoking bans were imposed.

Most of the benefit was seen among young people and non-smokers.

While smoking doubles the risk of heart attack, passive smokers, who regularly inhale tobacco fumes from others, have around a 30 per cent higher risk of getting a heart attack. The Guardian

From TODAY, News – Wednesday, 23-Sep-2009