Expert Commentary

Smoking bans and heart-attack rates

2009 meta-analysis by the Institute of Medicine of 11 U.S. and European studies on the health effects of smoking bans.

Minnesota implemented the first statewide smoking ban in 1975, and since then, 30 other states and more than 350 cities and towns have enacted restrictions. A meta-study by the Institute of Medicine indicates that the health benefits of such legislation are both immediate and significant.

Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2009 report, “Secondhand Smoke Exposure and Cardiovascular Effects,” looked at 11 U.S. and European studies on the health effects of smoking bans. Based on the studies examined, the researchers concluded:

  • All studies showed a significant reduction in heart attacks after bans were introduced, from 6% to 47%.
  • Heart-attack rates begin to fall quickly after bans are introduced.
  • Exposure to secondhand smoke significantly increased the chance of both smokers and nonsmokers having a heart attack.
  • Secondhand-smoke exposure increased the risk of coronary heart disease by 25% to 30%.

The researchers’ findings confirm those of an earlier report from researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. It determined that heart-attack rates drop 17% after smoking bans are instituted.

Tags: medicine, metastudy, tobacco

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