Smoking bans have been linked to a drop in preterm births according to new research published on the British Medical Journal website (bmj.com).
Louise Silverman, director of midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said: “There’s no doubt of the negative impact of smoking on the pregnant woman and her child, and the effects of second hand smoke.”
The study found the risk of preterm births dropped by 3.13% after the ban of smoking in restaurants.
There was a further reduction of 2.65% after the ban on smoking in bars.
Hasselt University’s researchers analysed over 600,000 babies born in Belgium after the smoking ban was implemented in stages.
Public health benefits
“More and more countries in Europe are adopting stricter legislation on smoking in public places,” lead researcher Dr Tim Nawrot said.
He emphasised that the results “underscore” the public health benefit of smoking bans.
Louise Silverton said: “This research is encouraging, but we should also be aware that many pregnant women are still exposed to second-hand smoke in domestic situations.”