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Smoking bans reduce heart attack rates by half, finds study

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Smoking bans work to curb heart attacks, sudden cardiac death.

In a study presented today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Mayo Clinic researchers show smoking bans at work reduce heart attacks. The finding is confirmation that second-hand smoke can kill.

But it’s not just heart attack incidences that declined and found in the study. Rates of sudden cardiac death also dropped after a smoke free ordinance was introduced in Olmsted County, Minn., even though other risk factors for heart disease remained the same such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

Richard Hurt, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center said, “The study shows that everyone, especially people with known coronary artery disease, should avoid contact with secondhand smoke. They should have no -- literally no -- exposure to secondhand smoke because it is too dangerous to their health.”

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Hurt also notes the study is the first to show smoke-free workplaces and residential smoking bans reduce sudden cardiac deaths.

We are going to use this information to help us convince corporations -- convince countries -- that this is the right thing to do to protect the health of their workers and their citizens,” Dr. Hurt says.

Hurt was involved in the pushing smoke-free legislation in Olmsted County and the state of Minnesota.

The finding should serve as an impetus for the Global Smoke-Free Worksite Challenge, which will encourage countries and corporations to move toward a smoke-free environment.

The study shows smoking bans reduce sudden cardiac deaths and heart attack rates; supporting evidence that second hand smoke is dangerous to the heart.