A new study released by Indiana University researchers shows that strong smoke-free workplace laws result in immediate and significant improvements in heart health, particularly in nonsmokers, according to a PRNewswire report.

The study found a 59 percent net decrease in hospital admissions for heart attacks, also known as acute myocardial infarctions (AMIs), in nonsmokers with no prior cardiac history in Monroe County, Indiana versus the control county during the study period, which tracked 22 months prior to and following the implementation of a smoke-free law.

The study, “Reduced Admission for Acute Myocardial Infarction Associated with a Public Smoking Ban: Matched Controlled Study,” conducted by Dong-Chul Seo, Ph.D., and Mohammad Torabi, Ph.D., will be published in the coming month’s Journal of Drug Education. It measured whether or not there was a change in admissions for acute myocardial infarctions in patients with no history of previous cardiac events or key risk factors for cardiac events [hypertension and/or high cholesterol] during the study period — the 22 months prior to and 22 months since the implementation of a smoke-free law that covers workplaces, restaurants, bars and clubs in Monroe County, Indiana versus the control county, Delaware County, Indiana, which had no smoke-free law during the study.

The Monroe County study is groundbreaking because it is the first to examine the impact of a smoke-free workplace law on the heart health of nonsmokers, rather than the general population, according to PRNewswire. It reaffirms the conclusions of the landmark 2006 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Secondhand Smoke Exposure, which states that secondhand smoke exposure may have immediate effects on the cardiovascular systems of nonsmokers.