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A cigarette smoked in a pub two days before the smoking ban in 2004. Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Heart attacks fell by more than 10 per cent after the workplace smoking ban

This Saturday marks the tenth anniversary of the ban’s implementation.

Updated 12.46pm

There was a more than 10 per cent fall in heart attack rates since the introduction of the workplace smoking ban, according to the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF).

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the introduction of the ban, which made the Republic of Ireland the first country in the world to implement a ban smoking in all enclosed workspaces.

The ban came into effect the following Saturday, the 29th of March.

In a statement today, Minister for Health James Reilly called the ban a “ground-breaking initiative”.

“Recent research found 3, 726 fewer smoking related deaths than would have been expected if the smoking ban had not been brought in,” he said.

This is indisputable evidence that the ban is saving lives, and improving our overall health as a nation.

He added that recent research published in PLOS One found:

  • an immediate 13% decrease in all-cause mortality
  • a 26% reduction in ischaemic heart disease
  • a 32% reduction in stroke, and
  • a 38% reduction in COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

Similar research in Clinical Cardiology shows that in the year after the ban, there was a 12 per cent reduction in the number of acute coronary syndrome hospital admissions.

A further 13 per cent fall was witnessed between March 2006 and March 2007.

Similar trend

IHF notes that research from the United States, Italy, Canada, and Scotland shows a similar trend following the implementation of workplace smoking bans.

“The rapid reduction in heart attacks after the introduction of the workplace smoking ban may be surprising to the general public but it makes sense when we consider the immediate effect tobacco smoke has on the body,” Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director of IHF, said.

Sudden blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes can be triggered by tobacco smoke. This means that just sitting in a smoke-filled bar would raise a person’s chances of a heart attack.

The IHF is advising smokers to mark the anniversary by quitting smoking.

Originally published 10.14am

Poll: Has the smoking ban changed your attitude to smoking? >

Read: Almost 7 per cent drop shows smoking ban is working, insists Cancer Society >

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