Asthma-Related ER Visits Among Children Fell After Indoor Smoking Bans

by Dr. Meenakshy Varier on  December 30, 2016 at 2:28 PM Health Watch
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  • In the past 3 decades, many cities and states have adopted laws that ban smoking in public indoor spaces such as restaurants, hotels and workplaces.
  • Implementing clean indoor air regulations is associated with a decrease in emergency department visits among children, for asthma
Introduction of clean indoor air regulations reduced the number of children needing care for asthma attacks.
Asthma-Related ER Visits Among Children Fell After Indoor Smoking Bans
Asthma-Related ER Visits Among Children Fell After Indoor Smoking Bans

There was a decrease in asthma-related emergency rooms in communities with indoor smoking bans by 17% according to new research from the University of Chicago Medicine.

"Children are in a very unique situation in that they have very little control over their environment," Ciaccio said, adding that changing public policies is one way to help control the environment for children in public spaces.

"This study shows that even those short exposures to secondhand smoke in public spaces like restaurants can have a significant impact on asthma exacerbations." Ciaccio added.

Reviewing Asthma-Related Emergency Room Visits

The researchers examined 20 metropolitan areas around the country that had introduced clean indoor air regulations prohibiting smoking in public places such as restaurants, hotels and workplaces.

The researchers reviewed 335,588 asthma-related emergency department visits that occurred between July 2000 and January 2014. The data came from 20 hospitals in 14 different states and the District of Columbia.

For each hospital, the researchers counted the number of visits during the three years before and the three years after indoor smoking bans took effect.

When making pre-ban and post-ban comparisons, they controlled for a variety of factors including seasonality and things like patient gender, age, race and socioeconomic status.


Results showed that number of visits had declined in majority of the locales, despite controlling various factors like gender and season. Across all 20 hospitals, the reduction in ER visits became prominent with every passing year following the bans. Children's ER visits fell by:
  • 8% after one year
  • 13% after two years
  • 17% after three years
"Combined with other studies, our results make it clear that clean indoor air legislation improves public health," said study co-author Theresa Shireman, PhD, professor in the Brown University School of Public Health.

The nationwide decline in children's asthma-related emergency room visits was not apparent beyond those seen in communities with the smoking bans.

"We should all breathe easier when our children do," said Tami Gurley-Calvez, PhD, associate professor of health policy and management at Kansas University and the paper's third author.

The paper was titled "Indoor tobacco legislation is associated with fewer emergency department visits for asthma exacerbation in children."

The study led by pediatric allergy expert Christina Ciaccio, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago and co-authored by researchers from Brown University and Kansas University, was published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.


  1. Christina Ciaccio et al. Indoor tobacco legislation is associated with fewer emergency department visits for asthma exacerbation in children. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology; (2016)

Source: Medindia

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