Tobacco control policies and perinatal and child health: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol

Jasper V. Been, Johan P Mackenbach, Christopher Millett, Sanjay Basu, Aziz Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: Children experience considerable morbidity and mortality due to tobacco smoke exposure. Tobacco control policies may benefit child health by reducing this exposure. We aim to comprehensively assess the effects of the range of tobacco control policies advocated by the WHO on perinatal and child health.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: We will systematically search 19 electronic literature databases (from inception) for published studies, and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform for unpublished studies. Additional work will be identified via handsearching references and citations, and through consulting an international panel of experts. No language restrictions will apply. Following Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) guidelines, randomised and clinical controlled trials, controlled before-and-after studies, and interrupted time series designs, are eligible. Studies of interest will assess the impact of any of the WHO-advocated tobacco control policies contained in the MPOWER acronym (except 'Monitoring tobacco use') on at least one outcome of interest among children aged 0-12 years. The primary outcomes are: perinatal mortality, preterm birth, asthma exacerbations requiring hospital attendance and respiratory infections requiring hospital attendance. Data will be extracted using customised forms and authors will be contacted to obtain missing information. Risk of bias will be assessed using EPOC criteria. Findings will be reported in narrative and tabular form. Between-study heterogeneity will be assessed clinically and statistically using I(2). If appropriate and possible, random-effects meta-analysis will be conducted for each unique combination of intervention and outcome. Subgroup analyses will be performed to assess the influence of the comprehensiveness of each policy, and to explore the impact of each policy according to socioeconomic status.

ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: No ethical assessment is necessary as we will summarise existing studies. We will publish our findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e008398
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2015


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