Smoking bans make for healthier hearts

By Michelle Anderson • Published: January 25th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Smoking bans in public places, such as restaurants or nightclubs, often elicit a good bit of grumbling from smokers.

But if those smokers’ hearts could talk, they wouldn’t be grumbling at all.

They’d be saying, “thank you.”

New research analyzed the results of eleven studies in ten places that banned smoking… including five American regions, one in Canada and four in Europe.

Researchers found that after the bans were in place for at least a year, they could point to at least a seventeen percent drop in heart attacks.

The beneficial health effects of prohibiting smoking happen quickly.

Researchers noted declines in heart attacks within three months after the bans took effect.

Smoking bans also improve residents’ health over time, they said.

The researchers found that the longer the policies were in place, the more residents’ risk of heart attacks went down.

Those who benefited most from smoking bans were those under age fifty. Researchers also found that the bans were more successful at encouraging younger smokers to kick the habit than older smokers.

The studies of smoking bans that the researchers reviewed covered nearly twenty-four million people and they included more than two-hundred-fifteen-thousand cardiac-related events.

On the basis of those figures and factoring in the seventeen percent reduction in heart attacks due to the bans, the researchers made a prediction:

A nationwide ban on public smoking in the United States could prevent more than one-hundred-fifty-six-thousand heart attacks a year.

And that, it seems, could have a lot of people breathing easier.