Fewer heart attacks suffered under Minnesota county's smoke-free laws, Mayo study findsA new study shows that the incidence of heart attack and sudden cardiac death was cut in half among residents of Minnesota's Olmsted County after smoke-free ordinances took effect in workplaces over the past decade.
By: Christopher Snowbeck, St. Paul Pioneer Press / MCT
A new study shows that the incidence of heart attack and sudden cardiac death was cut in half among residents of Minnesota's Olmsted County after smoke-free ordinances took effect in workplaces over the past decade.
The report from researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester -- Olmsted's county seat -- is being presented today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Orlando.
It adds emphasis to findings from earlier studies that also have shown a link between smoking bans and reduced heart attacks, said Dr. Richard Hurt, director of Mayo Clinic's Nicotine Dependence Center. Plus, the new study is the first to show a link between smoking bans and fewer sudden cardiac deaths, Hurt said.
"We're going to recommend that second-hand smoke be considered a sixth risk factor for coronary disease," he said. "People should minimize their exposure to secondary smoke, and people with known coronary disease should have no exposure -- zero. It's too dangerous."
Olmsted County passed an ordinance in 2002 that banned smoking in restaurants. Five years later, the county banned smoking in all workplaces. So, the researchers looked at heart attack and sudden cardiac death rates during 18-month periods prior to the 2002 ordinance and after the 2007 ban took effect.
In the earlier period, the regional incidence of heart attack was 212.3 cases per 100,000 residents, researchers said, but it fell to 102.9 per 100,000 cases in the later period. The rate of sudden cardiac death in the two periods fell from 152.5 cases to 76.6 cases per 100,000 residents.
The respective rate reductions were about 45 percent and 50 percent, Hurt said.
"I think this is, to date, the most definitive study (on heart attacks)," he said. "Plus, we now see a similar effect on sudden cardiac death."
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