SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A meta-analysis involving smoking bans in several countries found the smoke-free laws resulted in fewer heart attacks and strokes, U.S. researchers say.
Senior study author Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues reviewed 45 studies covering 33 smoke-free laws in countries as varied as Uruguay, New Zealand, Germany and the United States. The meta-analysis found:
-- The most comprehensive laws -- those covering workplaces, restaurants and bars -- resulted in the highest health benefits.
-- Comprehensive smoke-free laws were associated with a rapid 15 percent decrease in heart attack hospitalizations and 16 percent decrease in stroke hospitalizations.
-- Smoke-free laws were also rapidly followed by a 24 percent decrease in hospitalizations for respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
"Stronger legislation means immediate reductions in secondhand smoke-related health problems as a byproduct of reductions in secondhand smoke exposure and increases in smoking cessation that accompany these laws," Glantz said in a statement. "Passage of these laws formalize and accelerate social change and the associated immediate health benefits."
The findings were published in the journal Circulation.