Smoking bans cut premature births and child asthma attacks

LONDON Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:38am IST

A man smokes outside the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

A man smokes outside the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, New Jersey January 21, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Files

Related Topics

LONDON (Reuters) - Banning smoking in public places has helped to cut premature births by 10 percent, according to new research from the United States and Europe.

A study in The Lancet medical journal found that while the impact of anti-smoking laws varies between countries, the overall effect on child health around the world is positive.

"Our research shows that smoking bans are an effective way to protect the health of our children," said Jasper Been of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Population Health Sciences, who led the study.

He said the findings should help to accelerate the introduction of anti-smoking legislation in cities, countries and districts which have yet to do so.

Laws banning smoking in public places such as bars, restaurants, offices and other workplaces have already been proven in previous studies to protect adults from the health threats associated with passive smoking.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco already kills around 6 million people a year worldwide, including more than 600,000 non-smokers who die from exposure to second-hand smoke. By 2030, if current trends continue, it predicts tobacco's death toll could be 8 million people a year.

Only 16 percent of the world's population is covered by comprehensive smoke-free laws, and 40 percent children worldwide are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, the WHO says.

Public health experts hope that as more and more countries in Europe and around the world adopt stricter legislation on smoking in public places, the health benefits will swiftly start to become evident.

Friday's research in The Lancet, which analysed data on more than 2.5 million births and almost 250,000 hospital attendances for asthma attacks, was the first comprehensive study to look at how anti-smoking laws affect children's health.

With results from five North American studies of local bans and six European studies on national bans, it found rates of both pre-term births and hospital attendance for asthma fell by 10 percent within a year of smoke-free laws coming into effect.

"Together with the known health benefits in adults, our study provides clear evidence that smoking bans have considerable public health benefits for perinatal and child health," said Been.

He said it also provided "strong support for WHO recommendations to create smoke-free public environments on a national level."

(Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

GAZA VIOLENCE

WORLD SHOWCASE

Gaining Ground

Gaining Ground

Ukraine claims more territory as fight intensifies with rebels.  Full Article 

Unifying CalL

Unifying Call

After Iraqi army crumbles, Maliki turns to state TV for help.  Full Article 

No Counter Action

No Counter Action

Lavrov says Russia will not respond in kind to Western sanctions.  Full Article 

Virus Outbreak

Virus Outbreak

Nigeria isolates Lagos hospital where Ebola victim died.  Full Article 

Ferry Disaster

Ferry Disaster

Associate of dead S.Korea ferry boss arrested, children due to give evidence.  Full Article 

Chinese in Iraq

Chinese in Iraq

China says may have citizens fighting in Iraq.  Full Article 

Asylum Seekers

Asylum Seekers

Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers arrive in Australia after weeks held at sea  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage