The smoking ban has caused heart attack rates to fall more quickly than expected, a Department of Health study has revealed.
The investigation claims the measure has resulted in a 10% drop in England since it was introduced in 2007.
The results of a separate report into the ban in Scotland, where it became law a year earlier, show an even sharper decline at 14%. Similar findings are expected in Wales.
The results so far seen in the UK have already been replicated across Europe, with figures showing a 15% drop in France and an 11% fall in both Ireland and Italy.
The chance of suffering a heart attack increases with smoking because the habit causes changes in blood chemistry, making it much more prone to clotting - a fact particularly dangerous for those with narrow coronary arteries.
Report leader Anna Gilmore said: ‘There is already overwhelming evidence that reducing people’s exposure to cigarette smoke reduces hospital admissions due to heart attacks.’