Mayo: Heart Attack Numbers Drop Since Smoking Ban

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Mayo Clinic said there is more evidence that smoking bans in Minnesota are keeping more people alive.

Researchers found that the number of heart attacks and sudden deaths has fallen by nearly half since the smoking ban took effect in Olmsted County.

“This study adds to the observation that smoke-free workplace laws help reduce the chances of having a heart attack, but for the first time we report these laws also reduce the chances of sudden cardiac death,” said Richard Hurt, M.D., director of Mayo Clinic’s Nicotine Dependence Center in a press release. “The study shows that everyone, especially people with known coronary artery disease, should avoid contact with secondhand smoke. They should have no — literally no — exposure to secondhand smoke because it is too dangerous to their health.”

But, they said the rates of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity stayed the same or increased.

In 2002, Olmsted County was the first county in Minnesota to pass a smoking ban. Since then, adult smoking rates have dropped 23 percent.

Read more about the study here.

  • CorrelationCausation

    Correlation does not indicate causation.
    Note that there has also been an increase in ED since a smoking ban… does this mean that not being around second hand smoke causes ED? I think not.

    • twofiveone

      Now they tell us smoking is dangerous?! Wish they would have told us sooner.

    • Tickled

      Maybe watching the Jersey Shore reduces heart attacks, the cardiac arrest rate is down since that show started airing too. this story is weak at best, misleading at worst.

  • Dennis

    IF this correlation is proven to be true, why is tbacco still legal and why does our government subsidize tobacco growers?

    • jackactionhero

      Why make the jump from harmful to illegal, Dennis? You need the government to shake your d1ck when you’re done peeing too?

      • Ryan

        The government does this constantly. Why are drugs like cocaine, heroin, and meth illegal? Nicotine has been proven to be more addictive and create more dependence than any of those drugs and alcohol has been proven to have the worst withdrawal symptoms of any of the drugs as well as the most dangerous level of intoxication. Yet those remain legal and accepted drugs while marijuana which has a lower dependence and withdrawal symptoms than caffeine remains illegal. Some consistency would be nice.

        Why is it a jump to wonder why tobacco especially and even alcohol, both very dangerous and harmful drugs are illegal when we are constantly reminded how dangerous they are in relation to other illegal substances as well as the number of deaths each year due to their abuse?

        I do understand your point though: the government shouldn’t regulate what someone chooses to do to their bodies. If people want to smoke and drink that is their choice, but the government shouldn’t pick and choose which drugs are legal and which are illegal based on lobby money and they sure as hell should be subsidizing any of them.

  • John Engles

    Do Smoking Bans Reduce Heart Attacks?

    “In contrast with smaller regional studies,” says a RAND Corporation study, “we find that smoking bans are not associated with statistically significant short-term declines in mortality or hospital admissions for myocardial infarction [heart attack] or other diseases.”
    In fact, “An analysis simulating smaller studies using subsamples reveals that large short-term increases in myocardial infarction incidence following a smoking ban are as common as the large decreases reported in the published literature.”
    In other words, although heart attacks do decline in some places with smoking bans, there are just as many places where they rise. On average, the difference between jurisdictions with smoking bans and jurisdictions without smoking bans is essentially zero.

  • John Engles

    Guys there LYING out their progressive butts!

    MAYO clinic is one of the best funded anti-tobacco junk science research groups out there!

    First Nationwide Study Finds No Link Between Smoking Bans and Reductions in Heart Attacks

    • jackactionhero


      Yes, smoking is actually good for you, and promotes hair growth, higher IQs, and better vision.

      Those gol-durn liars! Right???


    • John Engles


      In 1991 NIOSH { OSHA’ research group} Looked into ETS although at the time they recommended reducing ETS exposure they found the studies lacking.

      NIOSH recognizes that these recent epidemiological studies have several shortcomings: lack of objective measures for charachterizing and quantifying exposures,failures to adjust for all confounding variables,potential misclassification of ex-smokers as non-smokers,unavailability of comparison groups that have not been exposed to ETS, and low statistical power.

      Research is needed to investigate the following issues:

      1. More acurate quantification of the increased risk of lung cancer associated with ETS exposure,including determination of other contributing factors[e.g.,occupational exposures]that may accentuate the risk.

      2.Determination of the concentration and distributuion of ETS components in the workplace to help quantify the risk for the U.S. working population.

      a.The association of ETS exposure with cancer other than lung cancer
      b.The relationship between ETS exposure and cardiovascular disease
      c.The relationship between ETS exposure and nonmalignant resporatory diseases such asthma,bronchitis and emphysema, and
      the effects of ETS on lung function and respiratory systems
      c. Possible mechanisms of ETS damage to the cardiovascular system,such as platelet aggravation,increased COHb leading to oxygen depravation,or damage to endothelium
      d.Effects of workplace smoking restrictions on the ETS exposure of nonsmokersand ETS-related health effects in nonsmokers

      After ten years of no conclusive research and lack of studies that didn’t eliminate the bias OSHA decided that the studies did not have substance and here is there present policy.

      Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)

      Because the organic material in tobacco doesn’t burn completely, cigarette smoke contains more than 4,700 chemical compounds. Although OSHA has no regulation that addresses tobacco smoke as a whole, 29 CFR 1910.1000 Air contaminants, limits employee exposure to several of the main chemical components found in tobacco smoke. In normal situations, exposures would not exceed these permissible exposure limits (PELs), and, as a matter of prosecutorial discretion, OSHA will not apply the General Duty Clause to ETS.

  • John Engles

    Another Multi-City Study Finds No Link Between Smoking Bans and Heart Attack Rates
    Jacob Sullum | August 26, 2011

    Two weeks ago (while I was camping in Colorado), Michael Siegel highlighted a study presented at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting that further undermines widely publicized claims that smoking bans lead to immediate, dramatic reductions in heart attack rates. As I have been saying since anti-tobacco activists began making these claims in 2003, hundreds of jurisdictions have smoking bans, and you would expect heart attack rates to decline in some of them purely by chance while rising or remaining essentially unchanged in others. If you focus only on the jurisdictions where heart attacks happen to fall substantially—such as Helena, Montana, or Pueblo, Colorado—it is not hard to create a misleading impression. But as Siegel notes, “The studies which have systematically examined the effect of smoking bans on heart attacks in all cities across the country that have implemented such bans have found that while heart attacks have declined in many cities, they have increased in others. The overall effect is nil, or very close to it.” The new study (PDF), by Robin Mathews of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, fits this pattern.

  • John Engles

    According to independent Public and Health Policy Research group, Littlewood & Fennel of Austin, Tx, on the subject of secondhand smoke……..

    They did the figures for what it takes to meet all of OSHA’S minimum PEL’S on shs/ets…….Did it ever set the debate on fire.

    They concluded that:

    All this is in a small sealed room 9×20 and must occur in ONE HOUR.

    For Benzo[a]pyrene, 222,000 cigarettes

    “For Acetone, 118,000 cigarettes

    “Toluene would require 50,000 packs of simultaneously smoldering cigarettes.

    Acetaldehyde or Hydrazine, more than 14,000 smokers would need to light up.

    “For Hydroquinone, “only” 1250 cigarettes

    For arsenic 2 million 500,000 smokers at one time

    The same number of cigarettes required for the other so called chemicals in shs/ets will have the same outcomes.

    So,OSHA finally makes a statement on shs/ets :

    Field studies of environmental tobacco smoke indicate that under normal conditions, the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded.” -Letter From Greg Watchman, Acting Sec’y, OSHA

    • jackactionhero

      So John, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you are a smoker.

      A non-apologetic, 2 pack a day, hardcore smoker, who doesn’t think you should have to stop blowing your smoke in anyone’s face even in a restaurant while they’re eating.

      Am I right?

      • Why the smear?

        Jack, yesterday you treated us to a vigorous defense of the local OWS crowd. Posters were launching ad hominem attacks against the protesters. Those attacks, you suggested, indicated that the posters didn’t understand what the protest was about. In a series of information-rich posts you laid out one of the things the protests are about — the growing gap between the richest 1% and the rest of us in this country, and the role corporations play in that. You countered smears with evidence-driven argument.

        Today John offers up evidence-driven argument countering the findings of this Mayo study (or rather he mostly leaves argument aside and offers up the counter-studies for our consideration). You respond with an irrelevant contention — that John is a smoker — by way of setting up a smear — that John is the sort of fellow who would blow smoke in another’s face while he or she is eating.

        Yesterday the OWS critics were attempting to discredit the OWS message by smearing the character of the protesters. Today finds you attempting to discredit John’s message by smearing John’s character. You may counter that your statement doesn’t amount to much of a smear; I’ll respond that aggressive or not, and effective or not, the attempt still demonstrates an unwillingness to engage with the content of his post. It would turn in another direction John’s attempt to kick-start a data-driven conversation.

        One reason why this comment area, like so many comment areas on the net, is such a dimly lit echo chamber is because it is filled by people who reach reflexively for pejoratives whenever someone offers evidence-based argument against beliefs they regard among their “common-sense” beliefs. I’m not a smoker, and my common-sense tells me that smoke bans ought to have some positive effect on heart health, but I’m also willing to consider peer-reviewed studies that suggest the contrary when they are presented to me. Why aren’t you willing to consider those studies? Based on your OWS posts yesterday, I would have thought you would be.

        • jackactionhero

          I love this comment.

          I was really just baiting him to respond. Often people post statistics such as he did, and then abandon the discussion. I didn’t have much time left in my day to engage John in the discussion of the points he addressed, so I went for the Hail Mary. Kind of like fishing bass with a spinnerbait to cover more water and encourage more strikes.

          Thank you for your feedback though. I do appreciate that you took the time to eloquently state your thoughts, and I do agree with the sentiment of your comment.


      • youdontexist

        he produces sources of info, and you…um..


  • Exp

    I find most smokers to be generally inconsiderate about their smoking. Throw butts out the windows of cars during a drought which can start fires, throw butts on the ground, unapologetically smoke around non-smokers as if it’s their right to harm others. This is coming from a person who had two smokers as parents. Key word :Had. And I also have the health problems to prove second hand is harmful.

    • Jake

      Yeah, exp, I noticed that you focused solely on all of the BAD things that smokers do, yet COMPLETELY IGNORE all of the GOOD things that come from the TAXES that they pay, and all of the ‘good’ programs that they fund, or the FACT that they often DIE sooner, so they don’t (over) soak social welfare programs like SOCIAL SECURITY, PENSIONS, MEDICARE, etc. What a big, ‘wunderful’ heart that you have there. I hope that you can sleep well at night. If I were you, I would have a tough time doing that. Please……….keep your moral ‘bible’ firmly and securely kept INSIDE your coat.

  • Notabigbaccotool

    This is why we need a smoke free state run casino.

  • Jake

    First they complain that the world is overpopulated, then they complain that too many people die TOO SOON because of smoking. My GOD, MAKE UP YOUR MIND, people!!

  • Jake

    I could, potentially, live to be another 50 years, but after witnessing the past 50 years, I can’t think of ONE GOOD REASON WHY I would want to. Modern ‘civilization’ is NOT what it is all cracked up to be. Most of it is wrapped up in self-promotion and hype, or fraud and swindle.I don’t fault the older generations so much, at least not as a whole, but the younger generations, with the ‘hacker’ mentality, an unwillingness to do ANY kind of physical labor, regardless of skill sets required, and the cronyism and corruption that exists within EVERY level of government is nauseating.

  • Jake

    It’s so funny, I hear on this website all the calls for legalizing DOPE, over and over again. Yet, with tobacco being legal, and users paying TAXES, they are the most vilified citizens within our society (drinkers are a close second). Somehow, dopers think that they will be immune to this kind of ridicule ir their ‘product’ is legalized. Think again. I find it strangely errie that a group of citizens who choose to use a LEGAL product, and who are OVERLY TAXED, and who are wholy criticized by the mass media as a WHOLE, that the general public condones such an attitude, while cops killers get parole, VIOLENT SEXUAL OFFENDERS walk away from halfway houses, even with ankle bracelets, and I have heard that our prisons are only ‘half full’.
    What’s up with that??

  • Jake

    What about all of those “bbws’ that are out there, who can definitely be hazardous to a person’s health?? Where are all of the ‘advisories’ about this kind of public health threat (hint: in one ways than ONE)??

  • green smoke review

    The findings show that the incidence of heart attacks and sudden cardiac deaths was cut in half among Olmsted County, Minn, residents after a smoke-free ordinance took effect. Adult smoking dropped 23% during the same time frame, as the rates of other risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity remained stable or increased.

  • Fewer Heart Attacks Seen after Smoking Bans | Mayo Clinic In The News

    […] coverage: Post-Bulletin, WCCO Radio, MinnPost, WCCO, Daily India, The Pilot N.C, KEYC (Mankato), KARE11, Grand Forks Herald, KAAL, BenefitsPro, […]

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live