Fall in heart attacks in England following smokefree law

Wednesday 09 June 2010

A study measuring the impact of England’s smokefree law on hospital admissions for heart attacks has shown that the legislation resulted in 1200 fewer emergency admissions to hospital in the 12 months following the implementation of the 2007 law. [1] This is the latest of a number of studies measuring the short-term health benefits of smokefree laws [2] and the first to evaluate the impact on heart attacks in England.

Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive of ASH commented:

“This study shows that hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped by 1,200 as a result of the smokefree law. That is great news but those figures only tell part of the story. The smokefree debate triggered a huge change in public attitudes and behaviour not just in the workplace but also in the home.”
Since the smokefree law was passed there has been a significant change in attitudes and behaviour towards secondhand smoke and greater awareness of the harm that involuntary exposure to tobacco smoke causes. However, support for smokefree measures was already growing long before July 2007 when the law came into force and 51% of adults reported working in a smokefree environment before the law was passed. In 2006, just over half of adults had made their homes smokefree. Now about four out of five adults live in smokefree homes. [3]

Notes and links:
[1] Sims M, Maxwell R, Bauld L & Gilmore A. The short-term impact of smokefree legislation in England: a retrospective analysis on hospital admissions for myocardial infarction. BMJ 2010;340:c2161.  http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/abstract/340/jun08_1/c2161
[2] See for example: Pell et al. Smoke-free legislation and hospitalizations for acute coronary syndrome. N Eng J Med 2008; 359: 482-91.
Glantz SA.. Meta-analysis of the effects of smokefree laws on acute myocardial infarction: An update, Preventive Medicine (2008), doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.06.007
[3] Taylor T et al. Smoking-related behaviour and attitudes, 2005. ONS, 2006. Passive smoking and children. Royal College of Physicians, London, 2010