Smoking Ban Leads To Drop In Premature Births, Suggests Study

Smoking Premature Birth

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 7/03/2012 13:08 Updated: 7/03/2012 13:27

The smoking ban has led to a drop in the number of babies born prematurely or with low birth weight, new statistics suggest.

Researchers analysed smoking and birth rates for all expectant women in Scotland before and after the country introduced a ban on smoking in public places in 2006.

They found that since the ban, there has been a 10% drop in the premature birth rate.

The research team, led by Professor Jill Pell of the University of Glasgow's Institute of Health and Wellbeing, looked at data for more than 700,000 women spanning a period of about 14 years.

They found that following the introduction of the smoking ban, the number of pregnant women who smoked dropped from 25.4% to 18.8%. There was also a significant dip in the number of babies born prematurely or with low birth weight.

The reduction in premature births was also found in non-smokers, suggesting a link between passive smoke exposure and foetal development.

Dr Pell said, as reported by the Press Association: "These findings add to the growing evidence of the wide-ranging health benefits of smoke-free legislation and support the adoption of such legislation in other countries which have yet to implement smoking bans.

"These reductions occurred both in mothers who smoked and those who had never smoked. While survival rates for preterm 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 preterm delivery has the potential to produce important public health benefits."

Amanda Sandford, Research Manager for Action on Smoking And Health (ASH) told HuffPost Lifestyle: "This study shows how smoke-free laws continue to exert a beneficial impact for many years after implementation.  We already know that going smoke-free reduces the incidence of heart attacks in the population and it is very encouraging to see that the Scottish law has also led to improvements in pregnancy outcomes. 
"However, despite the smoke-free law, thousands of children in Britain are still exposed to tobacco smoke on a regular basis. More needs to be done to educate people about the need to protect children from second-hand smoke exposure, particularly in the home and in cars."  

A Scottish Government spokesman told the BBC: "We are continuing to build upon the achievements made to protect future generations from the devastating effects of smoking such as bans on cigarette vending machines and the displays in shops.

"We are committed to ensuring a new comprehensive robust tobacco control strategy for Scotland is developed this year. This strategy will focus on prevention and cessation and include ambitious targets for reducing smoking across Scotland."

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  • Five Ways To Quit Smoking

    Battle the addiction with these top tips by hypnotherapist, <a href="" target="_hplink"><strong>Elle Dormer</strong></a>.

  • Close Your Eyes

    "Close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths in and out. Now build a mental picture of yourself in the future as a non smoker. "Make it real by filling in the detail - where you are, what you're doing, who you're with and how much better you look and feel. This is known as future pacing. If you can imagine yourself having achieved your goal you a mentally a step closer to it."

  • Plan Your Escape

    "Smokers often use cigarettes as a form of escapism. To have a break away from their desk after a stressful call. Or to provide thinking time when they are procrastinating. "Go for a brisk walk instead. Or to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. Any simple, familiar task that we can do without much thought allows us to simultaneously access our unconscious or 'zone out' which can be both relaxing and enable greater creative thought."

  • Imagine Other People's Disappointment

    "Make a list of all the people (alive or dead) in your life who care for you - or have cared for you, like your friends, partner, parents or children. Then close your eyes and imagine them all together gathered in a room. "You are standing before them with a large beautifully gift wrapped box. This present represents you quitting smoking. Explain this to them in your mind. See or imagine their reactions. "Make them real. The relief, love, pride, appreciation. Then imagine asking for the gift back and how sad and disappointed they would be. And resolve that you cannot do this to the people you love."

  • Breathe!

    "Cigarettes do not relax you. Nicotine is a stimulant so it is actually making you edgier and more stressed by elevating your heart rate and releasing stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol into your blood stream. "Try an experiment: replace one of your regular cigarettes of the day with the following pattern of breathing. Breathe in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 8. Do this 10 x, consciously relaxing your body on every out breath. "This will physiologically de-stress you by slowing your heart rate and releasing endorphins. And prove to you you can truly relax yourself without a cigarette.

  • Use Your Imagination

    "Take a moment somewhere quiet and close your eyes. Remember a time when you felt really confident, relaxed and in control. Take yourself back to that time, fill in the details and make it real. When you're feeling those emotions at their strongest, squeeze our thumb and forefinger together. "Clear your mind and repeat. Then practice recalling those helpful, positive emotions at points during the day by squeezing your thumb and forefinger together. The physical trigger should help to access those beneficial feelings that will help at moments of weakness."