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9 June 2010
A new study shows the number of people admitted to hospital suffering a heart attack fell by 1,200 in the first year after the introduction of the smoking ban in public places in England.
Previous studies have shown exposure to tobacco smoke can trigger a heart attack making it reasonable to assume that a reduction in exposure, because of the ban, would lead to a reduction in heart attacks.
Betty McBride, Director of Policy and Communications at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Banning smoking in public places was a bold step and now we have evidence showing that was absolutely right.
“It’s brilliant news that an average three fewer people a day are admitted to hospital suffering a heart attack. What’s more, we’ll see more benefits in future because heart attacks aren’t the only way that tobacco smoke harms the heart.
“Government should see this as a green light for further life-saving measures – going beyond the forthcoming ban on vending machines – to crack down on illegal tobacco smuggling and introducing plain packaging on cigarette boxes. These will also help stop people dying prematurely because of smoking-related illnesses.”
Statement issued in response to study: “The short-term impact of smokefree legislation in England: a retrospective analysis on hospital admissions for myocardial infarction” by Michelle Sims, research officer, Roy Maxwell, senior analyst, Linda Bauld, professor of social policy, Anna Gilmore, clinical reader in public health, clinical senior lecturer published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ 2010;340:c2161 doi:10.1136/bmj.c2161)