Smoking bans can cut heart attacks by as much as 36%, according to a new study likely to lead to more calls for prohibitions on puffing.
"This study adds to the already strong evidence that secondhand smoke causes heart attacks, and that passing 100% smoke-free laws in all workplaces and public places is something we can do to protect the public," James Lightwood of the University of California-San Francisco, whose study appears in the journal Circulation, said in a statement.
The team pooled data from 13 studies of smoking bans in communities in the United States, Canada and Europe. They said heart attack rates fall immediately after smoking bans are put in place, dropping by 17% in the first year and by as much as 36% after three years.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, long-term exposure to secondhand smoke can raise heart disease rates in adult nonsmokers by up to 30%. Secondhand smoke kills an estimated 46,000 Americans every year from heart disease alone, the CDC and Heart Association say. Smoking also causes several types of cancer, stroke and emphysema or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
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