"Smoking bans save lives"

February 26, 2008 10:45:38 AM PST
France, Italy post fast drops in heart attacks after smoking bans go into effect

French researchers announced a striking 15% decrease in heart attack admissions since the public ban on smoking came into effect in restaurants, hotels and casinos in France last January.

Similar results were published in Italy. Researchers with the Environmental Health Authority found an 11.2 percent cut in acute coronary events since the January 2005 smoking ban took effect.

"Smoking bans can save lives," says one official with the European Society of Cardiology.

"The swift reduction of heart attacks and strokes in France is very good news indeed!"states Professor Jean Pierre Bassand, Past President of the ESC and Head of the Cardiology Department at the University Hospital of Besançon . "Cardiologists do not need to be convinced that smoking and passive smoking have an important impact on the rate of heart attacks; they are also convinced that giving up cigarettes and eliminating passive smoking has a very favourable effect on the rate of heart attacks. Unfortunately the ban on smoking in public places has not led to a reduction in the number of smokers in France, confirming data observed elsewhere."

Professor Daniel Thomas, a senior cardiologist in the Centre Hospitalier Pitié- Salpêtrière in Paris , agrees: "Governments must learn from these findings and not give in to pressure from the tobacco lobby. In France people are actually still buying tobacco but just the fact that working and living environments are free from smoke pollution has made an enormous difference to public health."

Data presented at a 2006 E.S.C. meeting showed that smoking released over 4000 chemicals into the body, affecting every organ.