Smoking bans’ positive impact on child health backed by study
CHILDHOOD chest infections needing hospital care may have dropped by as much as 20pc since anti-smoking laws were introduced, research suggests.
Combined data was used from 41 studies from North America, Europe — including Ireland — and China where tobacco control policies have been introduced.
The findings add to previous evidence that tobacco control policies are associated with reductions in hospital admissions for asthma attacks among children and have also helped to cut rates of premature births.
Experts say the latest study — which includes data from more than 57 million births and 2.7 million hospital admissions offers the most complete analysis so far of the positive impact that tobacco control policies are having on children’s health worldwide. Researchers led by the University of Edinburgh said figures suggest that rates of children needing hospital care for severe chest infections have fallen by more than 18pc since anti-smoking laws were introduced.
In line with earlier research, the study estimates that severe asthma attacks have fallen by almost 10pc while the number of babies born premature has dropped by around 4pc overall. Babies of mothers who smoke during pregnancy have a higher chance of being born early, which exposes them to health complications in later life.