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Smoke-Free Legislation Has Significant Health Benefits

TUESDAY, April 1, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Introduction of smoke-free legislation is associated with reductions in preterm birth and hospital attendance for asthma, according to a review published online March 28 in The Lancet.

Jasper V. Been, PhD, from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review to examine the impact of smoke-free legislation on perinatal and child health. Data were included from 11 studies involving more than 25 million births and 247,168 asthma exacerbations.

The researchers found that all studies used interrupted time-series designs, and they described local bans (five North American studies) and national bans (six European studies). One study had a high risk of bias, while six and four had moderate and low risk, respectively. There were correlations between smoke-free legislation and reductions in preterm birth (four studies, −10.4 percent; P = 0.016) and hospital attendances for asthma (three studies, −10.1 percent; P = 0.0001). There was no significant effect on low birth weight identified (six studies, −1.7 percent; P = 0.31).

"Smoke-free legislation is associated with substantial reductions in preterm births and hospital attendance for asthma," the authors write. "Together with the health benefits in adults, this study provides strong support for World Health Organization recommendations to create smoke-free environments."

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