ROCHESTER, Minn. -- (WVLT) - Every year, there are fewer and fewer places for cigarette smokers to light up. Smoking bans are being put into place in many cities and states across the country. Mayo Clinic Dr. Paul Scanlon specializes in lung diseases related to smoking, he says smoking and second hand smoke increase your risk of many illnesses including lung cancer, emphysema and heart attack.
Heart attack is an issue because exposure to cigarette smoke increases the tendency for blood to clot. Acute heart attacks happen when blood clots in the coronary arteries. Smoking bans are thought to help decrease your risk of heart attack from exposure to cigarette smoke.
A study out of the University of California looked at the heart attack rates in several cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe where smoking bans are in effect. Results showed that in those cities, heart attack rates dropped by 19 percent. That's almost one out of five people who might have had a heart attack, did not.
Doctors say another benefit of the smoking bans is that it encourages smokers to quit because it's simply harder to find a place to light up.