IOSH has said that new research revealing a 17% drop in heart attack admissions since new smoking laws were introduced in Scotland is a vindication of its stop-smoking campaigning.
Richard Jones, director of technical affairs at IOSH, said: “The study gives very encouraging statistics and is a real vindication after years of campaigning to have smoking banned in public places, including the workplace. It is very welcome news for all employees previously exposed to second-hand smoke.
“We believed this ban would have a major impact on improving health, reducing the associated risks of heart disease and lung cancer, and from passive smoke, so are delighted with these findings. Providing smoke-free workplaces is helping employers too, in terms of reducing sickness absence caused by passive smoking, and giving smokers support to give up.”
The findings were presented to an international conference in Edinburgh on the ban, organised by the Scottish government. The study shows the quality of air in pubs is now equivalent to that found outdoors. Exposure to second-hand smoke in Scotland is down by 40%.
Before the ban went nationwide, about three million people across the UK were regularly exposed to second-hand smoke at work.
According to the British Medical Association, UK bar workers’ exposure to second-hand smoke was six times that of office workers. Non-smokers working in the smokiest bars were around 20 times more likely to get lung cancer than the average non-smoker.
IOSH also welcomed health minister Ivan Lewis’ announcement of an extra £10m to finance new NHS Plus sites aimed at small and medium-sized businesses.