medwireNews: Results from a UK study show that legislation banning smoking in the workplace and enclosed public spaces significantly reduces emergency hospital admissions for asthma among adults.
Indeed, Michelle Sims (University of Bath) and colleagues found that emergency hospital admissions for asthma fell by almost 5% after the introduction of smokefree legislation in England on 1 July 2007.
"There is already evidence that smoke-free legislation in England is associated with reductions in secondhand smoke exposure among non-smoking adults and fewer emergency hospital admissions for heart attacks and childhood asthma," commented Sims in a press statement.
"Our findings show that these health benefits extend to adult asthma," she added.
The researchers used Hospital Episode Statistics data to investigate hospital emergency admissions for asthma in England for the period from 1997 to 2010.
In total, 502,000 emergency admissions among adults aged 16 years and older with a primary diagnosis of asthma were recorded during the study period.
After accounting for seasonality, variation in population size, and underlying trends in admissions, the researchers estimate that the introduction of smokefree legislation was associated with an overall 4.9% reduction in emergency hospital admissions for asthma in the first year after the introduction of the ban.
The team estimates that the number of patients who required emergency hospital treatment for asthma fell by 1900 across England in the first year after introduction of the ban, with similar reductions in the second and third years post legislation.
"Our findings add to the expanding body of evidence that smokefree policies are associated with positive health outcomes," Sims et al conclude in Thorax.
They add: "Further research evaluating the impact of legislation in other jurisdictions is needed to support these findings."
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