Alert
Close

Earn Double Rewards Points: Take the AARP Social Security True/False Quiz

HIGHLIGHTS

Open

2014 NATIONAL EVENT

Health & Wellness
AARP Auto Buying Program

Download the ipad App

AARP-iPad-ePub-app

DRIVER SAFETY

Piggy bank on the road - AARP Driver Safety

Take the new AARP Smart Driver Course!

Contests and
Sweeps

Safe Driving in 2014 Sweepstakes

Learn how AARP Driver Safety can help you stay safe—and enter for a chance to win $1,000. See official rules. 

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

share your thoughts

What does the health care law mean to you? Your story is important. We read and learn from every story and it helps us in our educational efforts. We may even use your comments (with permission) to brief legislators, inspire readers and more. Please share your story with us. Do

Health Discovery

Smoke-Free Spaces Prevent Heart Attacks, Studies Say

Heart attack rates dropped 17 percent where smoking is banned in public places, new study says.

While some consider smoke-free laws an infringement on personal rights, three new studies have this to say about local regulations that have banned smoking in public places: They work.

On October 15, a government report confirmed that bans on smoking in restaurants, bars, and workplaces reduce the risk of heart attack among nonsmokers. The report from the Institute of Medicine reviewed research on the effect of smoking bans on secondhand smoke and heart disease and found the bans lower heart attack risk in both smokers and nonsmokers.

Released online September 21 by the journal Circulation, another study found that heart attack rates dropped 17 percent within a year of the implementation of smoke-free laws in 12 North American and European communities. Moreover, the number of attacks continued to decline over time, dropping by 36 percent three years after the restrictions took effect.

According to lead author James Lightwood, a statistician and economist at the University of California-San Francisco, the results of this analysis of studies done on the effectiveness of the local smoking bans “greatly increase the evidence that public area and workplace smoking restriction laws reduce heart attacks.”

The study results gelled with a similar investigation published in September in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “We found that smoking bans reduce the risk of heart attacks, particularly in nonsmokers, women, and those less than 60,” says lead author David G. Meyers, M.D., of the University of Kansas School of Medicine. Meyers questioned whether the reduction of heart attacks after smoke-free laws are passed could be due to chance. These studies put that doubt to rest. “No, the benefit is real,” Meyers says. American Heart Association spokesperson David C. Goff Jr., M.D., says the “studies provide very strong evidence that the public will benefit from implementation of smoke-free policies.” Goff, who is also head of epidemiology at Wake Forest University medical school in Winston-Salem, N.C., and wasn’t involved in the study, says that because heart disease is still the country’s leading killer, “a 17-percent reduction in heart attack rates is a cause for celebration.”

Based on the findings of these studies, Goff adds, “all communities should consider implementing smoke-free regulations.”

John Hanc writes about fitness and health.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Woman trying on glasses in optometrists shop

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at JCPenney Optical.

Prescription medication spilling out of bottle

Members get a free Rx card from AARP® Prescription Discounts provided by Catamaran.

AngiesList

Members can save 25% to 45% on their Angie's List membership.

Caregiving walking

Caregiving can be a lonely journey, but AARP offers resources that can help.