I spent nearly 7 years doing advocacy work for a cancer non-profit and legislation banning indoor smoking was always one of our major initiatives. During my time there, I heard every single argument AGAINST smoking bans and I could refute all of them. Not only that, I could do it politely! How’s that for a political debating skill?
Anyway, I read a new report out of Scotland that showed yet another argument in favor of banning smoking in workplaces and public indoor spaces: a drop in pre-term births and babies with low birth weights since a nationwide smoking ban was enacted there in 2006.
According to the article:
In their study, the authors collected information on preterm delivery and small for dates in all babies born between January 1996 and December 2009 and found that following implementation of the legislation there was a significant reduction—a fall from 25.4% pre-ban to 18.8% post-ban— in the number of mothers who smoked. Furthermore, there was a significant drop (over 10%) in overall preterm deliveries and in the number of infants born small (a drop of almost 5%), and very small (a drop of nearly 8%). Importantly, the authors found that these significant reductions occurred both in mothers who smoked and those who had never smoked, emphasizing the impact on health of second-hand smoke.
Apart from the smug satisfaction I feel whenever an opinion of mine is vindicated – in this case, the opinion that no good comes from being around cigarette smoke – I’m pleased to see such a socially positive outcome from a public health decision. I’m sure the Scottish government wasn’t thinking primarily of the health of newborns when they decided to ban indoor smoking but what a nice extra benefit to come out of the law! Healthier babies and a healthier future!
And for any pregnant ladies struggling against family members who smoke around them, you can use this study to help convince them that smoking, pregnancy, and babies do NOT belong together!
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