A ban on smoking in all public places in the United States would prevent 18,000 hospital admissions for heart attacks every year, said a study released Thursday.
In the first year alone such a ban would prevent 18,596 hospital admissions and save 92 million dollars in health care costs, said the study by the Henry Ford Hospital.
Presented to an American Heart Association conference in Washington, the study said these benefits would occur if the smoking ban that exists in many states were extended to 13 states without such a law.
"Even if you avoid one heart attack, it is something significant," said Mouaz Al-Mallah, lead author of the study.
"When people smoke, they are not only harming themselves, they're harming those around them who are exposed to second-hand smoke."
Previous research has shown that smoking bans can cut heart attack rates by 11 percent, the study authors said. By applying this to the 13 states without smoking bans, they came up with the figure of 18,596 fewer heart attack admissions.
"Second-hand smokers are less exposed and the smokers smoke less because it's more difficult," added Al-Mallah.