Global Tobacco Control Updates

Smoke-free laws improve heart health and reduce smoking-related death
06 May 2016
Research Alert

The Cochrane Collaboration recently assessed the impact of smoking bans in indoor public places and workplaces on health outcomes and exposure to secondhand smoke. The assessment is based on 77 studies from 21 countries published through until February 2015. Of the 77 studies, 44 examined smoke-free effects on cardiovascular health, 21 on respiratory health, 7 on perinatal health, and 11 on tobacco-related death. Participants in the 77 studies included smokers and nonsmokers.

Key Findings

  • 33 of the 44 studies examining effects of smoking bans on cardiovascular health found that smoking bans significantly reduced heart-related events, such as heart attacks.
  • 5 of the 6 studies examining effects on strokes found smoking bans significantly reduced stroke events.
  • Of 21 studies examining effects related to respiratory health, 6 found that smoking bans significantly reduced hospital admissions for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 7 found that bans significantly reduced hospital admissions for asthma.
  • Of 11 studies examining effects on smoking-related death, 8 found that smoking bans significantly reduced smoking-related death.

Key Messages

  • There is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes disease and death.
  • Comprehensive smoke-free laws for all indoor public places and workplaces improve public health and save lives.
  • All countries should enact and implement comprehensive smoke-free laws to protect non-smokers from the harms of secondhand smoke and help smokers to quit.

Full Citation: Frazer K, Callinan JE, McHugh J, et al. Legislative smoking bans for reducing harms from secondhand smoke exposure, smoking prevalence and tobacco consumption. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 2.

Study Abstract [English only] available from:

Additional Resources:

The Cochrane Collaboration, established in 1993, is an international, not-for-profit organization of over 27,000 contributors from more than 100 countries, dedicated to making up-to-date, accurate information about the effects of health care readily available worldwide.

If you have questions about the study or materials, or how to use them in your advocacy efforts, please email


secondhand smoke, smoke-free laws