“It’s brilliant news that an average three fewer people a day are admitted to hospital suffering a heart attack.

“What’s more, we’ll see more benefits in future because heart attacks aren’t the only way that tobacco smoke harms the heart.

“Government should see this as a green light for further life-saving measures – going beyond the forthcoming ban on vending machines – to crack down on illegal tobacco smuggling and introducing plain packaging on cigarette boxes.”

The research was carried out by a team at the University of Bath and published online by the British Medical Journal.

Short people are one and a half times more likely to suffer from heart disease than tall people, another study, published in the European Heart Journal, shows.

Experts said that shorter people should be careful to take care of their heart and eliminate other risk factors for the condition, such as smoking.