Smoking Bans Lower Heart Attacks

Heart attacks in non smokers were reduced after anti smoking legislation kicked in

(RxWiki News) Anti-smoking rules now allow four out of five Americans to enjoy clean air in most public places. The icing on the cake showed a reduced chance of heart attack for non-smokers.

A recent study looked at heart attack rates in Germany pre-and post-smoking bans. Results showed that non-smokers had 26 to 31 percent fewer heart attacks.

"Ask people not to smoke around you."

Johannes Schmucker, MD, a cardiology resident from the Hospital Links der Weser in Bremen, Germany, led an investigation into the outcome of smoking bans.

Researchers compared ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), a kind of heart attack, pre- and post-smoking ban.

Bremen, Germany issued a smoking ban on January 1, 2008. For the study, 3,545 STEMIs in Bremen from 2006 to 2010 were broken into a pre-and post-smoking ban groups and inspected.

Prior to the smoking ban there were an average of 65 STEMIs per month in Bremen, after the ban, the number dropped 16 percent to 55 per month.

Dr. Schmucker said, “This confirms that the smoking ban had a positive impact on the population as a whole by decreasing the number of STEMIs.”

The rate of STEMIs did not change for smokers, but rather the drop in heart attacks was for non-smokers.

This data indicated that the heart attack reductions were due to the smoking ban benefiting non-smokers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke.

Dr. Schmucker said, “Active smokers are inhaling such high doses of tobacco smoke that being exposed to less passive smoke in public venues is not going to change the risk for that particular group.”

The data for the non-smoking group alone showed a 26 percent reduction overall, and 31 percent for younger non-smokers, in STEMIs after the smoking ban.

Dr. Shmucker said, “Non-smokers and especially non-smokers under the age of 65 benefited most from the implementation of the law, indicating the harmful effects of passive smoking.”

Authors suggest widespread anti-smoking in public places legislation to further reduce STEMIs.

As of July 1, 2012, 81 percent of the U.S. population lives in areas where smoking in non-hospitality workplaces, and/or restaurants, and/or bars is no longer allowed.

These study results were presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress, August 25-29th, 2012 in Munich, Germany. No financial information was provided, and no conflicts of interest were found.

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Review Date: 
September 4, 2012