Smoke-free legislation and child health

Timor Faber, Jasper V Been, Irwin K Reiss, Johan P Mackenbach, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this paper, we aim to present an overview of the scientific literature on the link between smoke-free legislation and early-life health outcomes. Exposure to second-hand smoke is responsible for an estimated 166 ,000 child deaths each year worldwide. To protect people from tobacco smoke, the World Health Organization recommends the implementation of comprehensive smoke-free legislation that prohibits smoking in all public indoor spaces, including workplaces, bars and restaurants. The implementation of such legislation has been found to reduce tobacco smoke exposure, encourage people to quit smoking and improve adult health outcomes. There is an increasing body of evidence that shows that children also experience health benefits after implementation of smoke-free legislation. In addition to protecting children from tobacco smoke in public, the link between smoke-free legislation and improved child health is likely to be mediated via a decline in smoking during pregnancy and reduced exposure in the home environment. Recent studies have found that the implementation of smoke-free legislation is associated with a substantial decrease in the number of perinatal deaths, preterm births and hospital attendance for respiratory tract infections and asthma in children, although such benefits are not found in each study. With over 80% of the world's population currently unprotected by comprehensive smoke-free laws, protecting (unborn) children from the adverse impact of tobacco smoking and SHS exposure holds great potential to benefit public health and should therefore be a key priority for policymakers and health workers alike.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16067
Journalnpj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine
Volume26
Early online date17 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Nov 2016

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