Smoking affects the
growth of a child and increases the chances of preterm birth. This is why
obstetricians ask expectant mothers to strictly avoid smoking.
According to a recent
study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) scientists confirmed that
smoking bans are associated with a "consistent pattern of reduction in the link
of preterm delivery."
The study highlighted
that smoking bans have positive impact in promoting health benefits from very
It is a well-known
fact that smoking during pregnancy hampers and retards the growth of the
developing baby in mother's womb and lessens the period of gestation.
Exposure of pregnant
mothers to second-hand smoke is also known to affect preterm births.
Dr. Tim Nawrot and
colleagues from Hasselt University, Belgium, studied the effect of smoking bans
and preterm births in Belgium.
smoke-free legislation was implemented in three phases (in public places and
most workplaces in January 2006, in restaurants in January 2007, and in bars
serving food in January 2010).'
In medical terminology
preterm births are defined as birth of the baby before 37 completed weeks of
examined '606,877 live, single-born babies delivered at 24-44 weeks of
gestation in Flanders from 2002 to 2011.'
The scientists noted
remarkable reduction in the preterm cases after the introduction of every stage
of smoking bans. No evident decrease was observed before the ban.
The study revealed a
decline in the risk of preterm births of 3.13 percent on 1 January 2007when
smoking ban was enforced in restaurants.
increased to 2.65 percent after 1 January 2010 after smoking was banned in
bars. Other factors such as maternal age, socioeconomic status and
environmental factors (influenza epidemic, air pollution, etc.) did not
explained these changes in preterm births.
The researchers said
that the study was quite important due to the health aftermaths of smoking
Dr. Tim Nawrot pointed
out, "Our study shows a consistent pattern of reduction in the risk of
preterm delivery with successive population interventions to restrict smoking.
It supports the notion that smoking bans have public health benefits even from
early life. More and more countries in Europe are adopting stricter legislation
on smoking in public places. These results underscore the public health benefit
of smoking ban policies."