Less Smoke Equals Fewer Heart Attacks
Less secondhand smoke has turned into fewer heart attacks as the bans in public spaces has increased according to a study published in yesterdays issue of Circulation.
James M. Lightwood, PhD, and Stanton Glantz, PhD, of the University of California San Francisco used a meta-analysis on pooled data from 13 earlier studies on the health impact of nonsmoking laws in communities in the U.S., Canada, Scotland, Ireland, and Italy. They used to data to look at whether the community-based findings of the previous studies were consistent with estimates of the risk of acute myocardial infarction in individuals exposed to passive smoking.
The researchers found the number of acute heart attacks dropped by an average of 17% a year after smoking bans were put into effect, compared with communities with no such smoking restrictions.
This decrease in heart attacks continued in subsequent years. The rates dropped by about 36% within three years of smoking bans taking effect.
The authors noted the findings in the communities generally make sense in light of the American Heart Association's Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics 2009 Update which concluded that nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke have a 25% to 30% increased risk of developing heart disease.
Lightwood J, Glantz S "Declines in acute myocardial infarction following smokefree laws and individual risk attributable to secondhand smoke" Circulation 2009; DOI: 10.1161/CirculationAHA.109.870691.
Written by Ramona Bates, MD
Little Rock, Arkansas
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