Anti-Smoking Laws Have Immediate Effect
Smoke-free workplace laws appear to reduce the number of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths, according to a new study. Another analysis found that smoke-free legislation substantially reduced the number of hospitalizations and deaths from respiratory illnesses.
In the first study, researchers examined the number of heart attacks, or myocardial infarctions (MIs), that took place in Olmsted County, Minn. That county implemented a smoke-free restaurant law in 2002 and in 2002, enacted a smoke-free law affecting every workplace. The study examined the incidence of MIs that took place in the eighteen months before the first law and eighteen months after the second.
Researcher Richard D. Hurt, MD, and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., concluded that the incidence of MIs dropped about 33 percent after both laws were enacted, while the incidence of sudden cardiac deaths declined by 17 percent.
Eliminating smoking in workplaces substantially reduces exposure to second hand smoke, which has been linked with heart disease.
The findings were published in the “Archives of Internal Medicine.”
Another study, conducted at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, found that comprehensive smoke-free laws rapidly led to a 15 percent decrease in hospitalizations for heart attacks, as well as a 16 percent drop in hospitalizations for strokes.
Senior study author Stanton Glantz, Ph.D., said the evidence showed that strong anti-smoking laws will help avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and can lead to healthy lifestyle changes. "Stronger legislation means immediate reductions in secondhand smoke-related health problems… and increases in smoking cessation.”
The findings were published in the American Heart Association’s journal “Circulation.”