The Scottish smoking ban has led to a significant advance in public health, according to a study of the measure.

Comparisons at nine hospitals revealed that there was a 17 per cent year-on-year drop in heart attack admissions since the ban was introduced in March 2006. It says that the quality of air found in pubs is now equivalent to that found outdoors. The findings will be presented to an international conference inEdinburghon the ban organised by the Scottish Government. They are based on scientific evidence collected from routine health data, as well as research projects undertaken by government scientists and Scottish universities.