Smoking bans have reduced premature birth rates

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Laws put in place that banned smoking in public areas have impacted child health positively. This is according to an international study which was published in the Lancet.

Researchers indicated a 10% reduction in the incidence of premature births and chronic childhood asthma one year after the introduction of smoke-free laws.

The research team undertook analysis of 11 studies previously done in Europe and North America.

The study discovered that the impact of the smoke-free laws differed from country to country, however the overall impact on child health across the globe has been positive.

Jasper Been, the leader of the study from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Population Health Sciences, has said that the research shows that the bans on smoking are effective in protecting child health. He stated that the results of the research should aid in the acceleration of the introduction of smoking bans in districts and countries that have not already implemented it.

The positive health trend of these anti-smoking laws on adults have already been proven in studies done previously.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that around six million people are killed globally due to the use of tobacco. This figure includes in excess of 600,000 non-smokers who were affected by second-hand smoke. It is estimated that by 2030, with continuance of the current trends, the death toll due to tobacco usage could be as high as eight million per annum.

The WHO has said that only 16% of the global population is subject to smoke-free laws, with around 40% of the world’s children being regularly exposed to tobacco smoke.

This particular study is the first comprehensive look at the effect of smoke-free laws on the health of children. The researchers did analyses on data related to more than 2.5 million childbirths and around 250,000 hospital admissions related to asthma attacks.

The results taken from six European and five North American studies showed that both the analysed events dropped by around 10% within one year of the introduction of the smoke-free laws.

Jasper Been said that the results of the research provided massive support for the recommendations by the WHO to create smoke-free environments for the public on a national level.

Image credit: Elliott Brown

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