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No-Smoking Law Linked to Lower Asthma Rates

Study assesses asthma admissions in children before and after public smoking ban in Scotland

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Since comprehensive smoke-free legislation was introduced in Scotland, incidence of asthma has fallen among people without occupational exposure to environmental tobacco smoke -- namely, children, according to research published in the Sept. 16 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Daniel Mackay, Ph.D., of the University of Glasgow in the United Kingdom, and colleagues analyzed hospital administrative data to identify all hospital admissions for asthma in children under 15 in Scotland from January 2000 through October 2009. In Scotland, smoking was banned in all enclosed public places and workplaces as of March 26, 2006.

The researchers found that, before the implementation of the legislation, admissions for asthma increased at a mean rate of 5.2 percent annually. However, after implementation, the rate of admissions was reduced by 18.2 percent annually compared to the rate on March 26, 2006. The fall in hospitalizations was seen both in children ages 4 and under and children ages 5 to 14.

"In conclusion, our study showed that there was a reduction in the rate of hospitalizations for childhood asthma after the introduction of legislation to make public places smoke-free, suggesting that the benefits of such legislation can extend to populations other than those with occupational exposure to environmental tobacco smoke," the authors conclude.

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