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Smoking ban results in less pregnancy complications

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The prohibition of smoking in public places has resulted in a fall in complications during pregnancies in Scotland, according to researchers.

The ban on smoking in enclosed public places, such as cafes, shops and pubs, was introduced north of the border in March 2006.

Since then, there has been a reduction in the number of babies born before they reach full term as well as a drop in babies who are born underweight. The data held for both mothers who smoked and those who did not.

The report was carried out by a research team led by Professor Jill Pell from the Institute of Health and Wellbeing at the University of Glasgow.

Her team looked at more than 700,000 single-baby births either side of the new law being introduced. They found that before the year of the ban there were 25.4% of pregnant mothers who smoked, but that has now dropped to 18.8%.

Prof Pell also found that the overall number of babies born before 37 weeks, which is classed as being ‘preterm’, was down by 10%.

In addition, there was a 5% fall in infants born below the expected weight as well as a 8% drop in “very small for gestational size” infants, the study showed.

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