Heart attack declines due to smoke free workplace laws

A new study has found the strongest evidence yet that smoke-free workplace laws that reduce secondhand smoke inhalation can lead to reductions in heart attacks. Exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) is associated with coronary heart disease (CHD) in nonsmokers, and research suggests that the cardiovascular effects of SHS are nearly as large as those with active smoking.

Elimination of smoking in public places, such as by smoke-free laws and policies, has the potential for reducing smoking and perhaps cardiovascular events.

Richard D. Hurt, M.D., and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic,Rochester,Minn., evaluated the incidence of MI and sudden cardiac death (SCD) in Olmsted County, Minn., during the 18-month period before and after implementation of smoke-free ordinances. In 2002, a smoke-free restaurant ordinance was implemented and, in 2007, all workplaces, including bars, became smoke free.

?We report a substantial decline in the incidence of MI from 18 months before the smoke-free restaurant law was implemented to 18 months after the comprehensive smoke-free workplace law was implemented five years later,? the authors comment.

When comparing the 18 months before implementation of the smoke-free restaurant ordinance with the 18 months after implementation of the smoke-free workplace law, the incidence of MI declined by 33 percent from about 150.8 to 100.7 per 100,000 population, and the incidence of SCD declined by 17 percent from 109.1 to 92 per 100,000 population.

?All people should avoid SHS exposure as much as possible, and those with CHD should have no exposure to SHS,? the authors conclude.

Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, USA



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