HELENA, Mont., Apr 05, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A study done in Helena, Mont., shows banning smoking in a community results in an almost immediate drop-off in the number of heart attacks.
The study, published in Monday's British Medical Journal, examined the number of people in Helena, who were admitted to hospital for a heart attack before, during and after a local ordinance banned smoking in public and workplaces.
During the six months that the law was in effect -- June through November 2002 -- the number of heart attack admissions dropped by 40 percent compared to the same months the years before and after the law, the study found.
There was no significant drop in admissions for people living outside Helena.
While smoking has long been recognized as a long-term health danger, this is the first study to find an almost immediate decrease in the number of heart attacks in a community.
The Helena law was in place for six months before being overturned by opponents in December 2002.
But Helena provided a unique environment in which to study the immediate impact of a smoking ban.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.