It never ends. From the BBC:
Smoking ban may help heart health rate
A possible link between a smoking ban in bars and restaurants and a reduction in severe heart attacks has been found by scientists.
Edinburgh University researchers made the findings during a study in New Zealand three years after a smoking ban was introduced there.
Really? Because that's not what was reported (albeit, buried deep) in a study Michael Siegel mentioned last year:
In the year following the smoking ban, the rate of hospitalization for acute myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) increased in New Zealand. There was no significant difference in the pre- and post-ban trends.
Unstable angina admissions decreased in the year after the smoking ban, but there was no significant difference in the pre- and post-ban trends in the Poisson regression analysis.
When combining heart attacks and unstable angina to look at trends in the rate for all acute coronary events (also known as acute coronary syndrome), there was no significant change in acute coronary events from before to after the smoking ban, and no significant difference in the pre- and post-ban trends in the Poisson regression analysis.
The paper concludes: "There was therefore no clear evidence that the hospitalisation rate for these health outcomes reduced in the first 12 months after implementation of the SEAA [Smoke-free Environments Amendment Act]."
This was confirmed in a report by the New Zealand government* which said:
In conclusion, the health impact study did not detect a significant effect of the SEAA [smoking ban] (2003) on the rate of hospitalisations for adult cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
But now, all of a sudden, someone with a PhD in Geography on the other side of the world has discovered a New Zealand heart attack miracle?
Overall, the research showed heart attacks among people aged 30 and over fell by an average of 5% in the three years following the ban.
5% over three years is exactly what you would expect to see given the long-term trends. Indeed, one would expect to see a rather sharper drop than that. How dumb do they think we are?
*(The original version of this report has been deleted but can still be read here. The new study, of course, has yet to be published)