Smoke-free workplace laws linked to lower heart attack rates

The Washington Post “The Checkup” blog reports, “A decline in the number of cases of myocardial infarction, or heart attack, in one Minnesota county appears linked to smoke-free workplace laws in that area, research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine finds.”

The New York Times “Well” blog reports that “the study examined medical data in Olmsted County, which has a population of about 144,000, over two periods: the 18 months before the county banned smoking in restaurants in 2002, and the 18 months after it extended the ban to bars and all workplaces in 2007.”

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reports, “Banning indoor tobacco use from restaurants and workplaces drove down the rate of heart attacks by one-third in Olmsted County and reduced sudden cardiac death rates there by 17%.” The researchers “found that outlawing tobacco smoke in restaurants alone was not enough to have any discernible effect: It was not until phase 2 of the Olmsted County ordnance was implemented–forbidding cigarette smoking inside of bars and workplaces as well–that the full influence of the measure became clear.”

MedPage Today reports, “Other studies of smoke-free workplace and public place laws have pointed to declines in acute MI rates and hospitalizations, fewer asthma admissions among children, and improved quality of life, Sara Kalkhoran, MD, and Pamela M. Ling, MD, MPH, both of the University of California San Francisco, pointed out in an invited commentary.”

Smoking bans also reduce hospitalizations for heart attack, asthma.

USA Today reports, “Smoking bans quickly and dramatically cut the number of people hospitalized for heart attacks, strokes and respiratory diseases such as asthma and emphysema, an analysis” of 45 studies, “the largest analysis of smoke-free legislation to date.” Investigators found that “heart attack hospitalizations fell an average of 15% after communities passed laws banning smoking in areas such as restaurants, bars and workplaces.” The researchers reported that “stroke hospitalizations fell 16%.”

The Indianapolis Star reports, “The laws also were rapidly followed by a 24 percent decrease in hospitalizations for respiratory diseases, such asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

HealthDay reports, “The largest decreases in hospitalizations were seen in areas with the most restrictive policies – for instance, those that ban smoking in workplaces, restaurants and bars.”

MedPage Today reports, “The laws did not significantly reduce hospitalizations or death for transient ischemic attack, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or spontaneous pneumothorax.” The research was published in Circulation.

Enter your email to subscribe to Dr. Walt's blogs.

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Dr. Walt Larimore will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.