Heart attacks among non-smokers fall by a QUARTER after ban stubs out passive smoking



11:45 GMT, 28 August 2012

Smoking bans brought in to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke can have a dramatic impact on public health, say researchers.

A study in Germany found that the number of heart attacks in one city dropped by 26 per cent among non-smokers just two years after the ban came in.

Over the same period the number of cases of ST-elevation myocardial infarction – a type of heart attack – increased by four per cent among smokers.

Non-smokers aged under 65 have benefited most from the smoking ban

History: Non-smokers aged under 65 have benefited most from the smoking ban

Study author Dr Johannes Schmucker, said: 'Non-smokers and especially non-smokers under the age of
65 benefited most from the implementation of the law, indicating the
harmful effects of passive smoking.

'This suggests that expanding
anti-smoking legislation could reduce the occurrence of STEMIs even
further in the future.'

Many European countries have passed anti-smoking legislation which bans smoking from restaurants, bars and public buildings. The ban was enforced in England in July 2007.

Dr Schmucker analysed the 3,545 STEMIs that occurred between 2006 and 2010 in Bremen. The city's smoking ban came in in January 2008.

He found the rate of heart attacks remained nearly constant among smokers with an average of 25 per month in 2006/2007 rising to 26 per month in 2008/2010. However, the rate among non-smokers dropped from 39 to 29 per month.

Dr Schmucker said: 'Active smokers are inhaling such high doses of
tobacco smoke that being exposed to less passive smoke in public venues
is not going to change the risk for that particular group.'

Hospital admissions for heart
attacks also fell 2.4 per cent in England in the year after the smoking ban came in, according to Bath University.

This cut in admissions saved the NHS around 8.4million and is likely to have prevented almost 200 deaths.

Smoke, both first and secondhand, is thought to increase the chances of a heart attack by making the blood more prone to clotting, reducing levels of 'good' cholesterol and raising the risk of dangerous heart rhythms.

More than one in five adults in Britain is a smoker, with 23 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women smoking regularly.