A new study has confirmed that there has been a significant drop in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction (MI) after the introduction of smoke-free legislation in England.
The study, published online in the British Medical Journal on June 8, 2010, found that, after accounting for a pre-existing decline in admissions, trends in population size, and seasonal variation in admissions, there was a 2.4% drop in the number of emergency admissions for MI after the smoking ban legislation came into force on July 1, 2007. This equates to 1,200 fewer emergency admissions in the first year after the law came into effect (1,600 including readmissions).
The researchers, from the University of Bath, note that the largest impacts of smoking bans on MI rates have been reported in smaller studies in the US, with reductions in the range of 27% to 40%, while larger studies have reported more modest reductions. But they point out that there is some uncertainty around the extent to which some of these studies have effectively accounted for other factors that might influence patterns of admissions for MI, such as a general decline in MI rate anyway and seasonal issues.
They suggest that the reduction found in this study was smaller than other studies partly because of better control for such factors and also because exposure to secondhand smoke before the ban was lower in England than in some other countries, with 55% of employed adults in England already working in a smoke-free environment and many bars and restaurants having already gone smoke-free.