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Smoking ban leads to drop in mothers who smoke

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Scotland is continuing to gain the health benefits from the smoking ban introduced exactly six years ago, according to an anti-smoking charity.

Legislation outlawing smoking in enclosed public places, such as pubs, restaurants and almost all workplaces, came into force in Scotland on March 26, 2006.

The law was introduced to protect people from the health risks of passive smoking, and is enforced by local environmental health officers, who have the power to enter all no-smoking premises to make sure the law is being complied with.

Ash Scotland said the ban has proved popular among smokers and non-smokers with 83% of adults supporting it, including almost half of adult smokers. The charity also said health figures, such as a reduction in the rate of child asthma admissions by 18% per year since the ban, support its implementation.

There has also been a fall from 25.4% pre-ban to 18.8% in the number of mothers who smoke, according to research.

Ash Scotland chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “Six years on we can clearly see how Scotland’s smoke-free law is benefiting people. That law was opposed by the tobacco industry who sought to delay and derail it, much as they are doing with current legislation.

“Tobacco smoke is a toxic substance and poses a threat to health, particularly to children’s health. We need to continue to strive for people’s right to breathe clean air.”

Earlier this month a study showed that complications in pregnancy have fallen as a result of the ban. Researchers found there had been a decrease in the number of babies being born before they reached full term and a reduction in the number of infants being born underweight.

The research team, led by Professor Jill Pell of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing, looked at more than 700,000 single-baby births before and after the introduction of the ban.

Dr Pell said: “These reductions occurred both in mothers who smoked and those who had never smoked. While survival rates for pre-term deliveries have improved over the years, infants are still at risk of developing long-term health problems so any intervention that can reduce the risk of pre-term delivery has the potential to produce important public health benefits.”

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