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Smoke-free legislation means thousands fewer children in hospital

Researchers from Erasmus MC and the University van Edinburgh conclude that far fewer children worldwide are admitted to hospital after the introduction of smoke-free legislation.

rookvrij--grThis conclusion is based on a large scientific assessment. The researchers have published these results in the leading scientific journal The Lancet Public Health.

Global impact
“Our study has shown that smoke-free legislation has a global impact and that a good strategy can prevent much suffering”, says Jasper Been, researcher and pediatrician at Erasmus MC. The researchers combined the data taken from 41 studies conducted in North America, Europe, and China, that included data of a total of 57 million births and 2.7 million hospital admissions that took place before and after the introduction of the legislation.

Been says: “Almost twenty percent fewer children with severe respiratory tract infections. A ten percent drop in severe asthma attacks and fewer premature births. Moreover, we found that these improvements in health increase with expanded legislation. The impact of other measures on health, such as reducing price differences between cigarette brands, is currently being investigated further.”

Second-hand smoke
Half of all the children in the world are regularly exposed to tobacco smoke. It is known that children who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer from respiratory tract infections, such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and severe asthma attacks, for which they have to be admitted to hospital.

In addition, the children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are more susceptible to premature birth and a lower birth weight, which increases the risk of adverse health outcomes later in life. 

For further information, see the press release.

Date published: 6 September 2017.

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