July 20, 2019 - 15:21 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Heart attack rates dropped among older adults in Scotland in the decade after a nationwide indoor smoking ban took effect, a new study suggests.
Scotland banned smoking in all enclosed public spaces and workplaces in 2006. There was a 17% reduction in heart attacks in the first year after the ban took effect, compared to just a 4% decline over the same period in England, where public smoking rules didn’t change, the study team notes.
In Scotland between 2000 and 2016, there were a total of 117,161 heart attacks.
Among men and women aged 60 and older, the smoking ban was followed by a roughly 13% reduction in heart attacks over the study period. The ban didn’t appear to impact heart attacks for younger people, however.
“People tend to start smoking when they are young, many years before they reach the age at which heart attacks tend to occur,” said Dr. Jill Pell, director of the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow in the UK and coauthor of the study.
“Therefore, any effect from discouraging people from starting to smoke is likely to take more time to become apparent,” Pell said by email.
Even before the smoking ban, heart attack rates were declining in Scotland, the study team notes in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. But the legislation contributed to additional reductions, they conclude.
In a previous study of the smoking ban, Pell and colleagues found a reduction in heart attacks among both smokers and non-smokers, she said. In a separate study, they also found that the number of smokers trying to quit increased immediately prior to the ban.
While these studies were not designed to prove whether or how the ban directly prevented heart attacks, “there is likely to be a contribution from both encouraging smokers to quit and from protecting both non-smokers and smokers from other people’s secondhand smoke,” Pell said.
Heart attack rates dropped slightly more for women over 60: 14% versus 13.2% for men.