In England, where asthma affects almost 5.9% of the population and one in every 11 children, two independent studies have demonstrated significant reductions in asthma attacks since smoking was banned in public places in July 2007.
The first study, by researchers at Imperial College London, examined the number of children admitted to hospital with symptoms of asthma. They showed the reduction was equivalent to 6,802 fewer hospital admissions in the first three years of the law coming into effect and 12.3% fewer admissions in the first year with subsequent reductions in the following years. Prior to the implementation of the ban, hospital admissions for children suffering a severe asthma attack were increasing by 2.2% per year.
The second study, by researchers at the University of Bath, examined the 502,000 emergency admissions for asthma among adults aged 16 and over in England between April 1997 and December 2010. They showed the reduction was equivalent to 1,900 fewer A&E admissions for adult asthma patients each year since the ban and that results were consistent across the country. Dr Penny Woods, chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, commented “This is important new research that further demonstrates how the smoking ban has dramatically improved people’s lives”.
photo by: Coyau