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Scottish kids’ asthma declined after smoking ban

Hospitals report drop in asthma emergencies among children since prohibition on lighting up in public buildings

Scottish children are breathing more than a wee bit easier since a law banning smoking in public buildings went into effect in 2006. Hospitals now report treating fewer kids for emergency asthma attacks, an improvement that researchers suspect stems from decreased exposure to secondhand smoke, which can exacerbate asthma.

The ban prohibits smoking in most enclosed public places, including pubs, restaurants, office buildings, libraries and shops. “If it’s got three walls and a roof, it’s probably included,” says study coauthor Jill Pell, an epidemiologist and public health physician at Scotland’s University of Glasgow. 

But children don’t spend much time in restaurants and bars. In Scotland, the smoking ban may be benefiting them indirectly by curbing smoking in the home, Pell says.

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