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#HRB30 Story

Smoking bans work: evidence for health benefits

16 December 2016

In 2004, Ireland became a global pioneer in banning smoking in the workplace, and many other countries and jurisdictions have followed suit. Now HRB-funded research at University College Dublin has shown strong evidence that banning smoking in public places is good for cardiovascular health. The Cochrane Review of 77 studies across 21 countries showed that: Legislative smoking bans reduced hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease for both smokers and non-smokers; The largest reductions in admissions were in non-smokers.

University College Dublin, lead researcher Dr Kate Frazer

The problem

Smoking or being exposed to cigarette smoke is linked to serious chronic disease. In 2004, Ireland took a pioneering step of banning indoor smoking in the workplace, including pubs and restaurants, and many other countries and jurisdictions have followed suit. But what are the long-term impacts on public health?

The project

Dr Kate Frazer and Professor Cecily Kelleher at University College Dublin analysed 77 studies about smoking and cardiovascular disease (which can lead to heart attacks and strokes) from 21 countries. They used a technique called ‘systematic reviewing’ to see how robust the studies were, and they looked at the larger pattern that emerged from these studies.

The outcomes
  • We now have evidence that legislative smoking bans reduce the numbers of smokers and non-smokers being admitted to hospital for cardiovascular issues.  
  • A publication in the prestigious Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
  • Widespread media coverage around the success of smoking bans.

Dr Kate Frazer says: 'From a policy perspective, countries need to know that legislative smoking bans reduce passive smoke exposure and improve health outcomes, and we have been able to find the evidence internationally that smoking bans work'.

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