Public smoking bans led to 10% reductions in preemies and childhood asthma
Washington: Researchers have revealed that rates of both preterm birth and hospital admissions for asthma were reduced by 10 percent after laws that prohibited smoking in public places were implemented.
Researchers from University of Edinburgh collaborated with researchers from Maastricht University, Hasselt University, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, found that the introduction of new laws that ban smoking in public places in North America and Europe has been followed by a decrease in rates of premature births and hospital visits for asthma attacks in children.
Researchers analyzed 11 studies conducted in North America and Europe that included more than 2.5 million births and approximately 250,000 asthma-related hospital visits.
They report that while the impact of anti-smoking laws varies between countries, the overall impact on child health is very positive. Specifically, the data show that rates of both preterm birth and hospital admissions for asthma were reduced by 10 percent following the implementation of laws that prohibited smoking in public places.
Aziz Sheikh, senior author and a physician-researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital, visiting professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Primary Care Research and Development at The University of Edinburgh, said this research has demonstrated the very considerable potential that smoke-free legislation offers to reduce preterm births and childhood asthma attacks. The many countries that are yet to enforce smoke-free legislation should in the light of these findings reconsider their positions on this important health policy question.
The study has been published in The Lancet.