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Ban on public smoking helps kids with asthma

Smoking by parents or primary caregivers in home is the primary source of exposure to smoke for children below school age.

A recent study reveals that reducing exposure to secondhand smoke lessens the chances of hospitalization or asthma greatly.

Laws prohibiting smoking in public places have a fringe benefit.

According to researchers, children who were less exposed to second-hand smoke in the preceding 1 year had fewer episodes of poor asthma control, had fewer respiratory-related problems and were less likely to be hospitalized than children who had the same or increased exposure.

Research findings
Scottish researchers have reported in a recent study that a smoking ban is linked with a decline in the number of children admitted in hospitals for asthma treatment.

Researchers were aware for a long time that passive smoking increases the occurrence and worsens asthma, especially among the children.

The study published in ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ reported that the number of children admitted in hospitals for life-threatening asthma fell 18 percent in the first after Scotland’s smoke-free law came into effect in March 2006.

Dr. Jill Pell author of the study said that apart from cleaning the air, the ban created awareness about the need to quit smoking or not to start at all.

The sale of nicotine-replacement products went up and calls to help lines for quitting smoking increased just before the ban took effect.

Pell has described the study as innovative. Unlike previous such studies that have concentrated on the effects of smoking on all age groups, this study is the first to take into account a "particular sub group (children) who do not have occupational exposure."

Ban advantages
The study findings Scotland suggests that the effects of such a ban extend beyond the places that are covered by such regulations.

About 40 percent of U.S. children are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke. These children are at increased risk of multiple serious health hazards like increased risk of asthma, respiratory infections, decreased lung growth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

In Scotland there has been an increase in voluntary bans in homes and a resultant reduction in exposure to passive smoking among children.

It shows that such legislations have a greater general effect on smoking attitudes and behaviors. Parental smoking has been blamed for more than 200,000 cases of childhood asthma in the United States.

Children are the worst sufferers
About 40 percent of U.S. children are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke. These children are at increased risk of multiple serious health hazards like increased risk of asthma, respiratory infections, decreased lung growth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Smoking by parents or primary caregivers in home is the primary source of exposure to smoke for children below school age.

The results of the study have been substantiated by Dr. Lynn B. Gerald, of University of Arizona, who also found that any reduction in exposure to second hand smoke benefits young patients of asthma.

The study also suggests that it is not just the adults but the children also, who are the beneficiaries of smoke-free workplaces and public spaces. The next step could be to tobacco ban in homes to improve children's health.