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Asthma drop linked to smoking ban

21 January 2013

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Childhood hospital admissions for asthma fell after the public smoking ban in England, a new study suggests.
After three years of smoking being banned in enclosed public spaces, there were roughly 6,800 fewer hospital admissions, the study published in Pediatrics shows. 
Dr Peter Swinyard, Family Doctor Association (FDA) chairman and GP said: “This sounds like good news on childhood asthma. The data seem to suggest a link between the smoking ban and a drop in admissions for asthma, but I am not sure if the epidemiological evidence is strong enough yet to make it fact.
“I do seem to see less children in severe asthmatic situations than I did a few years ago – but I also see less adults, and there is no data on that in this report.”
Researchers at Imperial College London found there has been a 12% drop in admissions for childhood asthma, which has continued to fall.
Before the law was put into place, admissions for severe asthma attacks were increasing year on year. 
Emily Humphreys, head of policy and public affairs at Asthma UK, said: “This is something we campaigned for, so it is particularly encouraging that there has been a fall in children’s hospital admissions for asthma since its introduction. 
We have long known that smoking and second hand smoke are harmful – they not only trigger asthma attacks which put children in hospital but can even cause them to develop the condition.” 
Dr Christopher Millett, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London said: “”There is already evidence that eliminating smoking from public places has resulted in substantial population health benefits in England, and this study shows that those benefits extend to reducing hospital admissions for childhood asthma.
“Previous studies have also suggested that the smoke-free law changed people’s attitudes about exposing others to second-hand smoke and led more people to abstain from smoking voluntarily at home and in cars. 
He added that less people smoking in these settings “probably played an important role in reducing asthma attacks.”