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Smoking laws limit heart attacks

County's ban on smoking in workplaces linked to one-third decline

5:31pm, October 29, 2012

Perhaps living in a “nanny state” isn’t half bad. In a Minnesota county that banned smoking in public places in 2007, the heart attack rate dropped by one-third after the ban compared with the period just before the restrictions were phased in, researchers report in the Oct. 29 Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study is the longest analysis to date to measure a smoking ordinance’s effect on community-wide heart health, says study coauthor Richard Hurt, an internist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“Our hope is that this will turn the page on this chapter, and whether secondhand smoke is associated with heart attacks,” Hurt says. “It is.”

Olmsted County prohibited smoking in restaurants on January 1, 2002, and expanded the ban to all workplaces, including bars, on October 1, 2007. Cigarette smoke inhalation increases heart attack risk, so Hurt and his colleagues calculated th

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