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Smoking Bans Bring a Drop in Heart Attacks
Date:9/21/2009

In one Montana city, incidents fell but rose again when restrictions were lifted

MONDAY, Sept. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Localities that ban smoking in bars, restaurants and other public places witness a quick drop in heart attacks, two new studies show.

The research -- which incorporated data from a total of 24 studies of smoking bans across the country -- found at least a 17 percent reduction in heart attacks one year after the bans had been enacted.

"That's when you lump all these studies together," said Dr. David G. Meyers, a professor of cardiology and preventive medicine at the University of Kansas and lead author of a report that will appear in the Sept. 29 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"One thing we looked at was the effect of duration," Meyers said. "The longer the study, the greater the beneficial effect. On average, after one year there was a 25 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack. The risk reduction got bigger the longer the ban was in effect."

The other study, published in the Sept. 21 issue of Circulation, found a 17 percent drop in heart attack rates after one year and about a 36 percent drop three years after smoking restrictions had been enacted.

It incorporated data from 13 studies in the United States, Canada and Europe. Meyers's research effort analyzed data from 11 studies of 10 public smoking bans in the same geographic regions.

Meyers said that the greatest benefit revealed in his study was seen in people younger than 50. Women seemed to benefit more than men, but for an unknown reason, he said.

Because the studies his group reviewed included localities with a total population of 22 million, "we can make a rather firm conclusion that smoking bans reduce the risk of heart attacks," Meyers said.

The results indicate that a nationwide ban on smoking in public places would prevent 145,000 heart at
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