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Smokefree Workplace Law Reduces Heart Attacks 59% Among Nonsmokers, New Research Shows

BERKELEY, Calif., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study released by Indiana University researchers shows that strong smokefree workplace laws result in immediate and significant improvements in heart health, particularly in nonsmokers. The study found a 59% net decrease in hospital admissions for heart attacks, also known as acute myocardial infarctions (AMIs), in nonsmokers with no prior cardiac history in Monroe County, Indiana versus the control county during the study period which tracked 22 months prior to and following the implementation of a smokefree law.

According to Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, "The Monroe County, Indiana study is the eighth looking at the link between smokefree laws and heart disease. The results are consistent among all these reports, conducted by different researchers in different communities. The bottom line is smokefree laws save lives."

The study, "Reduced Admission for Acute Myocardial Infarction Associated with a Public Smoking Ban: Matched Controlled Study," conducted by Dong-Chul Seo, Ph.D. and Mohammad Torabi, Ph.D. will be published in the coming month's Journal of Drug Education. It measured whether or not there was a change in admissions for acute myocardial infarctions in patients with no history of previous cardiac events or key risk factors for cardiac events [hypertension and/or high cholesterol] during the study period - the 22 months prior to and 22 months since the implementation of a smokefree law that covers workplaces, restaurants, bars and clubs in Monroe County, Indiana vs. the control county, Delaware County, Indiana, which had no smokefree law during the study.

The Monroe County study is groundbreaking because it is the first to examine the impact of a smokefree workplace law on the heart health of nonsmokers, rather than the general population. It reaffirms the conclusions of the landmark 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's Report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Exposure, which states that secondhand smoke exposure may have immediate effects on the cardiovascular systems of nonsmokers.

Previous studies in Helena, Montana and Pueblo, Colorado showed a 40% and a 27% overall drop in acute myocardial infarctions following the implementation of smokefree workplace laws in those cities. Studies in New York, Ireland, Scotland, and Italy found similar results.

"Smokefree indoor air is a mainstream idea whose time has come," said Hallett. "It's no longer a question of who will be next to go smokefree, but who will be last."

More than 655 U.S. local communities and 25 states have enacted local laws providing for smokefree air in all enclosed workplaces, including restaurants and bars, according to the ANR Foundation Local Ordinance Database. Nearly 60% of the US population is protected by a smokefree law, but gaps remain in some regions and job sectors.

Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights is a national, member-based, not-for-profit organization based in Berkeley, CA that is dedicated to helping nonsmokers breathe smokefree air in enclosed public places and workplaces.

For more information:

Indiana University Press Release:

List of Secondhand Smoke/Heart Disease Studies:

Map of Cities and States with Smokefree Laws:

SOURCE Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights
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