Created on: January 24, 2013
Researchers at the Imperial College London published a study that claims the number of children admitted into hospital with asthma-type symptoms has dramatically fallen since the British government imposed a smoking ban in public places.
Using statistics from the National Health Service (NHS), the study purports that there has been a 12.3 percent drop in child asthma cases since 2007 for both boys and girls in affluent and impoverished neighborhoods. From 2007 to 2010, there were 6,802 less hospital admissions. In the years that followed, the trend continued, which suggested the legislation succeeded.
Before the ban was implemented, children being admitted into the hospital because of asthma-related symptoms rose more than two percent each year, including 26,969 admissions in the period of 2006 and 2007.
The purpose of the ban was to protect non-smokers from breathing in cigarette smoke in public places, like restaurants and offices.
The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics. The researched was funded by the NHS National Institute of Health Research, which is primarily funded by the British Department of Health.
“There is already evidence that eliminating smoking from public places has resulted in substantial population health benefits in England, and this study shows that those benefits extend to reducing hospital admissions for childhood asthma.” said Dr. Christopher Millet, the study author, in the report. “Previous studies have also suggested that the smoke-free law changed people's attitudes about exposing others to second-hand smoke and led more people to abstain from smoking voluntarily at home and in cars. We think that exposing children to less second-hand smoke in these settings probably played an important role in reducing asthma attacks.”
Dr. Millet added that these latest findings are positive news for Britons and noted that these results should encourage other nations around the world to adopt similar measures to tackle public smoking.
Emily Humphreys, head of policy and public affairs at Asthma UK, concurred with Dr. Millet’s remarks and told the London Guardian: “It's great to see growing evidence of the positive impact of smoke-free legislation. This is something we campaigned for, so it is particularly encouraging that there has been a fall in children's hospital admissions for asthma since its introduction.”
Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory disease and a condition that leads to difficulties in breathing and causes coughing, chest pains and wheezing. More than five million children are treated for asthma in the United Kingdom, which is one out of every 11 children and one out of every 12 adults.
Across the globe, there are between 235 million and 300 million reported cases with roughly 250,000 deaths.
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