A study conducted in Glasgow has linked a reduction in the number of premature and low birth weight babies with the ban on smoking in public places introduced into Scotland in 2006.
These findings suggest that the introduction of national, comprehensive smoke-free legislation in Scotland was associated with significant reductions in preterm delivery and babies being born small for gestational age. These findings are plausible and 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 that have yet to implement smoking bans.
There are lots of reasons why babies are born premature or with low birth weight but smoking has long been known as a key preventable reason for this. Given how important a predictor low birth weight is for future health this is a result really worth celebrating – but not with a cigar !
“In 1954 Medical Research Council study shows link between smoking and lung cancer. At 6am on Sunday March 26, 2006, Scotland introduced a new law which banned smoking in public places. “
I found this quotation in a footnote of the Clackmananshire Joint Health Improvement Plan and it seemed to me a very powerful way of showing that behaviour and policy can lag a long way behind research.
The evidence that passive smoking is bad for childrens health is overwhelming and for parents not smoking or not allowing smoking in the same space as children is a straightforward way to improve children’s health. Although there is now a high awareness that passive smoking is not good for health – I am not convinced that people understand just how pervasive smoke can be in an enclosed space. So the new smoke free homes campaign that is being rolled out across Lothian is much needed.
You can register your home, workplace or car as smoke free at the following link and recieve a smoke free homes pack.
Staff who support chidren and parents can get free training to help them be up to date on the evidence about passive smoking and the campaign for smoke free homes by contacting :-
Amanda Pitkethly, Young People’s Smoking Prevention Development Worker, Y-STEP, Fast Forward, 4 Bernard Street, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6PP. 0131 554 4300