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Smoke ban reduces heart admissions

9th June 2010

Research has revealed there have been 1,200 fewer hospital admissions for heart attacks in England in the year after the smoking ban came into force in July 2007.

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The study  by a team at Bath University, commissioned by the Department of Health and published in the British Medical Journal, focused on hospital admissions in England between 2002 and 2009.

Separate research by the London Health Observatory, based on the figures and also taking weather factors into account, suggests the ban on smoking in public indoor spaces saved the NHS £8.4m in the first year.

However, the fall which is a reduction of 2.4%, is small compared to other countries that have introduced similar smoking bans.

A US study reported a 40% drop in the number of admissions for heart attacks while research from Scotland, where a ban was introduced in March 2006, reported a 17% decrease in heart attack admissions in the year after its ban.

However, other studies from New Zealand and Piedmont in Italy found no overall reduction.

Dr Anna Gilmore, director of the Tobacco Control Research Group, who led the study, maintained the fall in England was still an important one.

She said: “Given the large number of heart attack attacks in this country each year, even a relatively small reduction has important public health benefits.”

Professor John Britton of the Royal College of Physicians said the findings demonstrated the importance of preventing passive smoking and urged the government to take further steps to close the remaining loopholes in the existing smoking laws.

 

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