Researchers have linked the enactment of a British smoking ban to a decrease in the number of reported asthma attacks in children.
The 2007 smoke-free law, which prohibits smoking within enclosed public spaces and workplaces, and its part in the decrease of child asthma cases were studied by researchers at Imperial College London. The results, published Monday, found a 12.3 percent reduction in the number childhood asthma related hospital admissions in the first year following the ban.
According to Reuters, this is not the first time anti-smoking laws have produced these type of results. Similar bans in other countries, including the United States, have also been linked to fewer cases of asthma emergencies in children.
Study lead Christopher Millett, from Imperial’s school of public health, spoke of the findings:
“The findings are good news… and they should encourage countries where public smoking is permitted to consider introducing similar legislation. There is already evidence that eliminating smoking from public places has resulted in substantial population health benefits… and this study shows that those benefits extend to… childhood asthma.”
Findings from the study indicate that the benefits of the smoking ban continued throughout the five years following its implementation. During the first three years the ban was in effect nearly 7,000 fewer childhood asthma emergencies were reported. The number of hospital admissions has continued to decrease in the proceeding years.
An article by The International Business Times writes that approximately one in 11 children in England are affected by asthma. A staggering 5.4 million asthma sufferers are currently being treated for asthma in the country with 1.1 million of those cases being child patients.
Christopher Millet believes that smoking bans have produced some positive changes in smoking habits:
“Previous studies have also suggested that the smoke-free law changed people’s attitudes about exposing others to second-hand smoke and led more people to abstain from smoking voluntarily at home and in cars. We think that exposing children to less second-hand smoke in these settings probably played in important role in reducing asthma attacks.”
What are your thoughts on the link between smoking bans and a decrease in child asthma attacks?