Myocardial infarctions [MI, heart attack] in a Minnesota county decreased with the implementation of smoke-free workplace laws, as per report published Online First by Archives of Internal Medicine.
Coronary heart disease [CHD] in nonsmokers is linked to secondhand smoke (SHS) , and research suggests that the cardiovascular effects of SHS are nearly as large as those with active smoking, according to the study background. Elimination of smoking in public places, such as by smoke-free laws and policies, has the potential for perhaps reducing cardiovascular events.
Richard D. Hurt, M.D., and colleagues at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn., evaluated the incidence of MI and sudden cardiac death [SCD] in Olmsted County, Minn., during the 18-month period before and after implementation of smoke-free ordinances. In 2002, a smoke-free restaurant ordinance was implemented and, in 2007, all workplaces, including bars, became smoke free.
“We report a substantial decline in the incidence of MI from 18 months before the smoke-free restaurant law was implemented to 18 months after the comprehensive smoke-free workplace law was implemented five years later,” the authors comment.
The comparison is quite stark. In the 18 months before implementation of the smoke-free restaurant ordinance copmared with the 18 months after implementation of the smoke-free workplace law, the incidence of MI declined by 33 percent, and the incidence of SCD declined by 17 percent.
“All people should avoid SHS exposure as much as possible, and those with CHD should have no exposure to SHS,” the authors conclude.