Monday, August 20, 2018

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Previous studies have shown public smoking bans are associated with health benefits among adults. Previous studies have shown public smoking bans are associated with health benefits among adults.
 


Study Shows Public Smoking Bans Benefit Children

SDSU researchers examined whether smoking bans increase secondhand smoke-related health issues in children of adult smokers.
By Cory Marshall
 

“Our research indicates that these comprehensive bans have the strongest positive effects on infant and child health outcomes relative to limited or partial bans.”

Like a plume of smoke that stretches and spreads, the number of smoke-free locations continues to expand across the country.

While smoke-free ordinances have been largely heralded as a public health policy success, some argue smoking bans can negatively affect the children of smokers. The argument centers around the theory that as the number of smoke-free public locations rise, adult smokers are more likely to light up inside their homes—increasing the risk of secondhand smoke exposure in young children and infants.

But that is not the case, according to a new San Diego State University study examining the impact of anti-smoking laws on that portion of the population.

Brandy Lipton, an assistant professor within the division of health management and policy in SDSU’s Graduate School of Public Health, co-authored the study alongside fellow researchers Kerry Anne McGeary, Dhaval Dave and Timothy Roeper.

While previous studies have shown public smoking bans are associated with health benefits among adults, the new study finds bans may also have positive effects for infant and child health, including increases in birth weight and reductions in asthma attacks.

“This evidence is contrary to concerns that bans could shift smoking from banned locations to the home, potentially increasing secondhand smoke exposure among pregnant women and children,” said Lipton.

Researchers publicly available data on infant and child health and compared them between states and localities that enacted 100-percent smoke-free ordinances—including bans in worksites, restaurants and bars—and states that did not have such bans in place. The scientists also analyzed infant and child health data before and after the introduction of these bans.

“Our research indicates that these comprehensive bans have the strongest positive effects on infant and child health outcomes relative to limited or partial bans,” said Lipton.

As a sidebar, researchers also found limited and partial smoking bans to be less effective, from a total public health perspective, than 100-percent smoke-free bans.

According to Lipton, lawmakers should consider these findings as more governmental entities look at whether to implement smoke-free legislation.