cienceDaily (Sep. 22, 2009) — Public smoking bans appear to significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks, particularly among younger individuals and nonsmokers, according to a new study published in the September 29, 2009, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Researchers find that smoking bans can reduce the number of heart attacks by as much as 26 percent per year.
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* Heart Disease
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* Ischaemic heart disease
* Coronary heart disease
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* Emphysema

"Even breathing in low doses of cigarette smoke can increase one's risk of heart attack," said David Meyers, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Cardiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Kansas School of Medicine and lead investigator of the study, which is the most comprehensive analysis of related studies to date. "Public smoking bans seem to be tremendously effective in reducing heart attack and, theoretically, might also help to prevent lung cancer and emphysema, diseases that develop much more slowly than heart attacks. The cardiac benefits increased with longer ban duration."

According to projections by the authors, a nationwide ban on public smoking could prevent as many as 154,000 heart attacks each year. These findings are particularly important in light of mounting evidence that second-hand smoke exposure is nearly as harmful to the heart as chronic active smoking. Direct smoking doubles the risk of heart attack. Second hand smoke increases the risk by 30 percent.

"Interestingly, public smoking bans had a stronger effect in reducing heart attacks among women and younger individuals, which may be explained, in part, because younger people tend to frequent clubs, restaurants and bars where smoking is a likely part of the social scene," said Dr. Meyers. "Heavily exposed...