Asthma Incidence Reduced after Public Ban on Smoking in Scotland
By: Caroline Melhado
A study funded by the NHS Health Scotland found that following legislation to ban smoking in public places and work places the number of hospital admission due to asthma decreased significantly among children. While the rate of hospitalization for both pre-school age children and school-age children had been increasing by 4.4% per year before legislation, however after legislation there was a reduction of 15.1% relative to the rate before legislation. There is a strong correlation between environmental smoke and the incidence of asthma.
Asthma has been a growing problem for many countries around the world. However health officials and politicians have been weary of implementing public and work smoking bans because many believe this will push smokers to smoke more at home where children reside. In Scotland 40% of children live with smokers in their home. The data was consistent across groups of different gender, geography and socioeconomic standing. The study in Scotland proved that legislation banning smoking would decrease the incidence of asthma in a population, and not cause an increase in home smoking. While the consortium study could find no way to directly prove the correlation, they find it hard to credit the lowered incidence to any other change.
N Engl J Med2010;363:1139-45