There have been 1,200 fewer heart attack hospital admissions in the year since smoking in public places was banned in England, a study has concluded.
The University of Bath study, published in the BMJ, showed there was a 2.4% reduction in heart attack admissions in the 12 months since the ban was introduced in 2007.
Data on emergency hospital admissions was collected for patients aged 18 or older from July 2002 to September 2008. The records for the five years before the introduction of smoke-free laws were then compared against the period after the legislation came into force.
Another factor could have been the fact that smoke-free legislation in England was introduced at a time when many public places and workplaces were already, or were already becoming, smoke-free.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of anti-smoking lobby group ASH, commented: “That is great news, but those figures only tell part of the story. The smoke-free debate triggered a huge change in public attitudes and behaviour, not just in the workplace but also in the home.”
A separate study by researchers from the University of Otago in New Zealand, meanwhile, has argued there is a strong association between smoking and depression.
The study of 1,000 people found those who were dependent on nicotine were more than twice as likely to have symptoms of depression as those who were not nicotine dependent.