According to a Mayo Clinic study published in Archives of Internal Medicine in October 2012, that compared the risk of heart attacks and sudden cardiac death for 18 months before and after legislation for smoke-free environments. There were 33% fewer heart attacks and17% fewer sudden cardiac deaths after the laws went into effect.
The actual numbers are less impressive, but still significant. There was a drop from 1.5 to 1.0 per 1000 people for heart attacks and from 1.1 to 0.9 per 1000 people for sudden cardiac deaths.
When it came to measuring the number of hospitalizations and deaths from heart and lung diseases, an article in the October 2012 issue of Circulation showed that with smoke-free laws there were 15% fewer heart attack hospitalizations, 16% fewer stroke hospitalizations, and 24% fewer hospitalizations for respiratory diseases. The most comprehensive laws were associated with the highest health benefits.