French health authorities have announced a 15% decrease in admissions of patients with myocardial infarction to emergency wards since the public ban on smoking came into effect in restaurants, hotels and casinos in France last January.
The announcement was made on 23 February by the National Sanitary Institute. Similar results were published in Italy on 12 February by the Environmental Health Authority: researchers in Rome found an 11.2% reduction of acute coronary events since the January 2005 smoking ban took effect in Italy.
“There is a wealth of data linking smoking and cardiovascular disease (CVD),” said Prof Daniel Thomas, of the European Society of Cardiology and a Senior Cardiologist in the Centre Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris.
“Although further studies are needed all over France to confirm the strong decrease in smoking related deaths over time, these statistics show the same tendency professionals have already observed in Italy, Ireland and Scotland when these countries introduced their own bans on tobacco.
“To me, the most striking aspect in this study is the reduction of pollution inside cafés and restaurants by over 75% between December 2007 and January 2008. Passive smoking has been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease and the recent smoking ban is obviously having a beneficial effect on both smokers and non-smokers.”