SMOKING BANS IN public and in work places have been linked with a fall in premature births, new research shows.
The study also outlines that a similar fall in the number of children presenting at hospitals with problems associated with asthma.
Within a year of the laws being introduced, the number of both these hospital visits and preterm births fell by 10 per cent.
Published today in The Lancet, the release of the study comes a day before the anniversary of when Ireland’s ban on smoking in workplaces was first enforced.
The ban made it an offence to smoke in a workplace, and can be publishable by a fine of up to €3,000.
Fianna Fáil leader Michael Martin, who introduced the ban during his time as Minister for Health, said it has prevented 4,000 deaths.
Smoking bans currently affect 16 per cent of the world’s population.
The study looked at similar bans across North America and Europe.
Severe asthma attacks
“Our research found significant reductions in preterm birth and severe asthma attacks in childhood, as well as a 5% decline in children being born very small for gestational age after the introduction of smoke-free laws”, Dr Jasper Been from the Maastricht University Medical Centre said.
“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, and provides strong support for WHO recommendations to create smoke-free public environments on a national level.”
Sara Kalkhoran and Stanton Glantz from the University of California San Francisco suggest that, based on this study, a 10 per cent fall in hospital visits for asthma could result in combined savings across the USA and Europe of almost €5.1 billion.