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Public Smoking Bans Lead to Reduction in Preterm Births, Childhood Asthma Visits — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
March 28, 2014

Public Smoking Bans Lead to Reduction in Preterm Births, Childhood Asthma Visits

By Joe Elia

Legislation to reduce the effects of secondhand smoke through public smoking bans have led to drops in both preterm births and childhood asthma hospitalizations, according to a Lancet meta-analysis.

Researchers examined 11 studies that measured pre- and post-ban outcomes for preterm birth, low birthweight, and asthma in North American and European children. Overall, both preterm births and asthma hospitalizations dropped 10% post-ban; there was no effect on very low birthweight.

Commentators point to the very real (and rapid) economic benefits of these laws.

Reader Comments (1)

john davidson BSEE

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Though there is considerable evidence showing that on average the babies of women who smoke during pregnancy weigh on average a few ounces less than babies of women who do not smoke and that the rate of low birthweight babies is somewhat higher for smokers, there is no credible evidence for the hyperbolic claims that the babies of smokers have a higher mobidity and mortality rate. Quite the contrary, the babies of women who smoke during pregnancy have a better survival rate ounce for ounce, a somewhat lower rate of congenital defects, a lower rate of Down’s syndrome, a lower rate of infant respiratory distress syndrome and a somewhat lower rate of childhood cancer than do the babies of non-smokers.

Dr. Richard L. Naeye, a leading obstetrical researcher who studied more than 58,000 pregnancies, states unequivocally:

“We recently found no significant association between maternal smoking and either stillbirths or neonatal deaths when information about the underlying disorders, obtained from placental examinations, was incorporated into the analyses. Similar analyses found no correlation between maternal smoking and preterm birth. The most frequent initiating causes of preterm birth, stillbirth, and neonatal death are acute chorioamnionitis, disorders that produce chronic low blood flow from the uterus to the placenta, and major congenital malformations. There is no credible evidence that cigarette smoking has a role in the genesis of any of these disorders.”

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