WEDNESDAY, July 30, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- After a ban on smoking in all enclosed public places was introduced in Scotland in March 2006, there was a 17 percent reduction in hospital admissions for acute coronary syndrome, says a new study that provides further proof that smoke-free laws provide health benefits.
Researchers found the number of admissions in the 10 months after the ban was 2,684, compared with 3,235 in the 10 months before the ban. Nonsmokers accounted for 67 percent of the decrease. There was a 14 percent reduction in admissions among smokers, a 19 percent reduction among former smokers, and a 21 percent reduction among people who'd never smoked.
The study also found that people who'd never smoked reported a decrease in their weekly amount of exposure to secondhand smoke.
While admissions for acute coronary syndrome decreased 17 percent in the 10 month's after the Scottish ban, there was a 4 percent reduction in England (which has no such legislation) during that same period. In the decade preceding the ban, Scotland had a mean annual decrease of 3 percent.
Previous studies have suggested that banning smoking in public places reduced hospital admissions for acute coronary syndrome, but it wasn't clear whether the reduction involved nonsmokers, smokers or both.
The new study was published in the July 31 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Earlier this month, an International Agency for Cancer Research report said smoke-free policies are extremely effective at reducing smoking rates, exposure to secondhand smoke, and smoking-related heart disease.
Another study, published in the journal Circulation, found the number of acute coronary events dropped significantly among adults in Rome after Italy banned smoking in public places in 2005.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about smoke-free policies.