According to a study by Jill Pell of the University of Glasgow as published in the PLoS Medicine, a 2006 national smoking ban in Scotland is linked to a significant decrease in premature births and small for dates (gestational age) infants.
The Smoking, Health and Social Care Bill was implemented in Scotland on March 26, 2006. The Act made smoking in any wholly or substantially enclosed public spaces in Scotland an offence. Scotland was the first country in the United Kingdom to prohibit smoking in public spaces.
To determine the effects, if any, of the Scottish smoking ban, the researchers in the study collected data on premature births and small for dates infants from all babies born between January 1996 and December 2009.
Prior to the ban, 25.4% of mothers smoked. After the ban, the number of mothers who smoked dropped to 18.8%. After the ban, premature births decreased by over 10%, infants born small decreased by almost 5%, and infants born very small dropped nearly 8%.
More importantly, the reduction in premature births and small for dates infants affected both mothers who smoked and mothers who never smoked, illustrating the significant dangers of secondhand smoke.
As the authors of the study conclude:
The results of our study add to the growing evidence of the wide ranging health benefits of smoke-free legislation and lend support to the adoption of such legislation in countries where it does not currently exist.
In light of the evidence of the positive effects of the smoking ban in Scotland, do you support a national ban on smoking in public?