Some people are down on smoking bans in public spaces because they feel, “People have the right to smoke if they want to.” However, babies all over the planet would cheer for smoking bans if they could. Since smoking bans have been implemented in public spaces, researchers say there has been a hefty 10% reduction in premature births and severe childhood asthma attacks. These positive benefits for babies occurred within just one year of smoke-free laws being introduced. In this inaugural study that examined the perks of public smoking bans and the effect on babies, a research team from the University of Edinburgh, Maastricht University, Hasselt University in Belgium, Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital looked at more than 2.5 million births and almost 250,000 hospital attendances for asthma attacks in children.

They not only found that smoking bans reduce asthma and premature birth rates, but that there has also been a 5% decline in children being born very small for their age. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has noted that they feel smoking bans have benefited adults and children. Of course we all know the benefits of a mother NOT smoking while pregnant, but smoking ban benefits, which eliminate secondhand smoke, haven’t been very clear until now. Dr. Jasper Been, lead study author from the Maastricht University Medical Centre in The Netherlands, told BBC News that the research on children under 12 was revealing, “Our study provides clear evidence that smoking bans have considerable public health benefits for perinatal and child health, and provides strong support for WHO recommendations to create smoke-free public environments on a national level.” Currently, just 16% of the world’s population is covered by smoke-free laws — so imagine how significant even more smoking bans might be for unborn babies and young children.

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