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Public smoking bans linked to drop in premature births

A woman lights a cigarette outside a caf

(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 analyzed 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)

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marlene March 29 2014 at 11:30 AM

Smoking bans in restaurants are a given. But I don't understand them in bars. If you are pregnant you shouldn't be in a bar anyway. How were these "facts" taken?

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Hi Allison March 29 2014 at 12:05 PM

yea good luck with that 1. if im outside n not next to anyone im gonna smoke

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starpizzaman March 29 2014 at 4:51 PM

Smoking cigarettes is bad for you but smoking pot is OKAY ! I wonder what they are up to ? LOL! It's all about money and controlling your life.

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1 reply
Doug starpizzaman March 29 2014 at 7:13 PM

Yes, many liberals will argue that smoking pot is perfectly harmless to the same organs cigarette smoke destroys.

Silly, isn't it.

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1 reply
abcstarfox Doug March 30 2014 at 12:50 AM

Only liberals smoke grass????
How long have you been stoned?

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ga7smi March 29 2014 at 10:52 AM

BS - and I don't smoke

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Jean Marie March 29 2014 at 11:08 AM

Can someone tell me please how they know no smoking in bars etc dropped child birth defects. I appreciate the no smoking laws but really.

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1 reply
majesticdm Jean Marie March 29 2014 at 11:29 AM

I agree with you Jean. They know because they paid some "scientist" $50,000 to make that bogus claim.

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1 reply
mtl1 majesticdm March 29 2014 at 11:44 AM

They know because the number of defects has fallen since the bans came into wide application. They factor in other know improvements in preventing premature birth and after discounting those things they are left with the influence of the ban. There is no money in studies that show how much smoking harms EVERYONE. Big tobacco pays big money to get researchers to study almost any stupid thing they can think of OTHER than the effects of tobacco. But one thing is obvious SMOKER =STUPID and no other factors need to be considered

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sonnybabe59 March 29 2014 at 12:09 PM

If you believe this you better make an appointment with a Shrink

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BRYANT March 29 2014 at 11:39 PM

"Research studies" most often come up with what the researchers want them to - who has ever seen a study where researchers said that they were completely wrong and didn't know what they were doing?

That said, this is less a health issue than it is a freedom issue. A "healthy society" as ejjljjr calls it is not a free society, it is governed by people who think that they know what you should drink, eat, smoke and ultimately think. It's a slippery slope, as they found in Nazi Germany as each successive group was called for extinction and the others did not resist because it was not their group.

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1 reply
boff31 BRYANT March 30 2014 at 2:16 AM

Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 out of 10 deaths in the United States. When you develop one of the many chronic diseases (and I promise you will, especially if you are a smoker), I guarantee you will be appreciative of the many "research studies" your doctors and nurses will depend upon to guide their treatment and care of you during your illness(es).

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leslie March 29 2014 at 12:14 PM

As a non smoker, This is soooo much BS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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kjasperkc March 29 2014 at 12:15 PM

Such junk! Lies and more lies. Disgusting.

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Bill March 29 2014 at 4:40 PM

This is just another thing the government can take control of to charge people more so that they can stuff more into their pockets. Have worked in government 25 years and know what I am talking about. Back in the 70's everyone was so afraid of one country because of their political status. They were afraid of a reconstructured government that would be able to tell them what they could and could not do. I think we lost that battle. Our government is doing that now. Back then it was called communisim. What do they call it now ? This is only of the many things your government is doing. I could name a few more. OK more than a few.

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