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Smoking Ban Drastically Reduces Premature Birth

Feb 18, 2013 08:02 AM EST
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A recent study by the Hasselt University in Belgium focused on the impact of the public smoking ban which was implemented. They were surprised to notice that banning smoking in public places drastically reduced the number of premature births.

The country implemented bans against smoking at three levels: banning smoking in public places in 2006, banning smoking in restaurants in 2007 and banning smoking in bars that serve food in 2010.

For this study, the researchers assessed 600,000 births at each phase. Based on the data, they observed a great decline in the number of premature births. Especially after the implementation of the second and third phase, there was a great decline in the babies born before 3 weeks. The numbers fell by almost 3 percent each time.

Prior to this, in 2012, a Scottish study produced a similar pattern through their study. The study also focused on the link between public smoking ban and a drop in premature birth.

"Our study shows a consistent pattern of reduction in the risk of preterm delivery with successive population interventions to restrict smoking. It supports the notion that smoking bans have public health benefits even from early life. More and more countries in Europe are adopting stricter legislation on smoking in public places. These results underscore the public health benefit of smoking ban policies," the authors were quoted as saying in Medical News Today.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 6 million people are killed worldwide every year because of tobacco. Out of which nearly 60,000 die due to second hand smoking. In the U.S., cigarette smoking causes about 1 of every 5 deaths.

The details of the study were published in British Medical Journal.

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