The ban on smoking in public places in Scotland has resulted in a decrease in preterm delivery in pregnancy and small-forgestational-age rates.
This is according to a study led by public health Professor Jill Pell, of more than 700,000 single baby births before and after the introduction of the smoking legislation in March 2006.
The researchers found that following the introduction of the smoking ban the number of mothers who smoked fell from 25.4% to 18.8%. There was also a drop of more than 10% in overall preterm deliveries, a 5% drop in the number of infants born small for their gestational age, and a drop in 8% of babies born very small for their gestational age.
According to Professor Pell, 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.
“The potential for tobacco control legislation to have a positive effect on health is becoming increasingly clear.”