According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, laws that force businesses to be smoke-free provide positive results. Smoke-free workplaces are strongly associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks, says an article by the Join Together Staff.
Medical records of patients who worked at the same establishments before and after two smoke-free laws were put in place were researched. The establishments, located in Olmstead County, Minnesota, implemented one law in 2002, which banned smoking in restaurants, but not in bars. In 2007, a second law, banning smoking in all workplaces, including bars, was enforced.
The researchers compared rates of heart attack and sudden cardiac death for nearly a year and a half before and after each law went into effect. Heart attack risks decreased about 34 percent in this span of time. A 17 percent decline was also found relating to sudden cardiac death between 2001 and 2009.
Smoking declined during this study, “but not in those who had a heart attack or sudden cardiac death,” says the article.
“We now know that not only do smoke-free workplace laws help avoid having a heart attack, but they also reduce the chances of having sudden cardiac death,” lead author Dr. Richard Hurt said in a news release. “Those are both very dramatic things that have a very big impact on workers as well as patrons.”
Avoiding secondhand smoke as much as possible is strongly advised, and those with coronary heart disease should stay away from secondhand smoke completely, as advised by researchers in the Archives of Internal Medicine.