A study of nine Scottish hospitals has found a 17 per cent fall in admissions for heart attacks in the first year after the smoking ban came into force.
The figure is included in one of a series of research papers to be presented today at an international conference discussing the impact of the smoking ban on Scotland's health, air quality and society.
The research is part of a national evaluation of the impact of Scotland's smokefree legislation which shows that the smoking ban has had an overwhelmingly positive effect.
The evaluation found that after the legislation came into force there was:
a 17 per cent reduction in heart attack admissions to nine Scottish hospitals. This compares with an annual reduction in Scottish admissions for heart attack of 3 per cent per year in the decade before the ban
a 39 per cent reduction in second hand smoke exposure in 11-year-olds and in adult non-smokers
an 86 per cent reduction in secondhand smoke in bars
an increase in the proportion of homes with smoking restrictions
no evidence of smoking shifting from public places into the home
high public support for the legislation even among smokers, whose support increased once the legislation was in place
The conference, being held today and tomorrow at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, has attracted researchers, public health specialists and policymakers from as far afield as India, Nigeria and Kazakhstan.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Peter Donnelly said:
"This raft of research demonstrates the significant public health benefits that the smoking ban is already having in Scotland.
"It provides evidence that the legislation is improving the health of everyone in Scotland - including smokers, non-smokers, children and barworkers.
"One of the most important findings is the reduction in heart attacks. We believe that the smoking ban was a large contributory factor to this drop.
"I am confident that we will continue to see the...