Heart attacks 'have fallen 10%' since smoking ban

There has been a 10% reduction in heart attacks since the introduction of the workplace smoking ban, according to the Irish Heart Foundation.

Minister for Health, Dr James Reilly said: "The workplace smoking ban in 2004 was a ground breaking initiative, and it has had a huge impact.

"Recent research found 3,726 fewer smoking related deaths than would have been expected if the smoking ban had not been brought in. This is indisputable evidence that the ban is saving lives, and improving our overall health as a nation."

The research paper, ‘Reductions in Cardiovascular, Cerebrovascular and Respiratory Mortality following the National Irish Smoking Ban: Interrupted Time-Series Analysis’. published last year, found that the smoking ban was associated with a number of immediate reductions in ill-health in the general population:

· an immediate 13% decrease in all-cause mortality

· a 26% reduction in ischaemic heart disease

· a 32% reduction in stroke, and

· a 38% reduction in COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland wants a complete smoking ban across all publicly funded institutions.

The RCPI is also urging the Government to introduce legislation to enforce a complete smoking ban in cars where young children are present.

The group says children exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk of the same health problems as those who smoke.

The Chair of the Tobacco Policy Group, Dr Pat Doorley says if the car ban is introduced, it will become a matter for the Gardai to deal with.

The workplace smoking ban was brought into force 10 years ago today.

Ireland was the first country in the world to introduce the workplace ban, which has since spread to most developed countries.

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