Smoke-Free Laws Tied to Lowered Blood Pressures

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Modest effects seen across tobacco policy types.

Reductions in secondhand smoke exposure due to smoke-free policies appear to have modestly reduced blood pressure on a population level, a multicenter cohort study found.

Nonsmokers in communities with smoke-free policies had significantly lower systolic blood pressures compared with those in areas without smoke-free policies, with an adjusted predicted mean reduction of 1.14 mm Hg for policies against smoking in restaurants, 1.52 mm Hg for policies on smoking in bars, and 1.41 mm Hg for policies against smoking in the workplace, reported Stephanie Mayne, PhD, of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Previous research has found that smoke-free policies have contributed to fewer cardiovascular disease, and particularly acute myocardial infarction related hospital admissions. These laws have also reduced secondhand smoke exposure. However, prior investigations have not assessed reductions in BP as a result of smoke-free laws, the researchers noted.

This paper “supports the potential benefits of a smoke-free environment on overall cardiovascular health, which are numerous in addition to potential effects on BP,” commented Carl “Chip” Lavie, MD, of the Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans, who was not involved in the study.

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