Smoke-free areas have led to substantially fewer hospitalizations and deaths from heart and respiratory diseases, according to research in the American Heart Association journal Circulation.
Researchers reviewed 45 studies covering 33 smoke-free laws at the local and State levels around the United States and in other countries like Uruguay, New Zealand and Germany. They found:
- Comprehensive smoke-free laws are associated with a rapid 15 percent decrease in heart attack hospitalizations and 16 percent decrease in stroke hospitalizations.
- Smoke-free laws have also been rapidly followed by a 24 percent decrease in hospitalizations for respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- The most comprehensive laws — those covering workplaces, restaurants and bars –- have resulted in the highest health benefits.