Smoking Bans Reduce Asthma Attacks
Smoke-free laws have been criticized by opponents as an infringement of personal rights and personal choice, however, extensive research has proved that smoking bans spare many children with asthma from being hospitalized.
This translates to more regular attendance at school, which probably subsequently translates to better social and academic performance for the youngsters. What teacher and parent doesn't want to see his or her child thrive at home and at school?
Even if we ignore the concern for children's health, which of us adults wouldn't like to see a reduction in medical bills and visits to the doctor's office where we need to spend time making appointments and waiting for our turn in the waiting room? After all, a sick child needs an adult to bring him or her to a doctor's office or to the hospital, which necessitates taking time off from work for the person who needs to bring the bacon home! Asthma attacks, in addition to being scary for both children and parents, is also a disease affecting both parties.
Clearly, when smoking bans are in effect, children are not the only ones who benefit. Other studies have documented the decline in adult heart attack rates after smoking bans were adopted.
The Associated Press reports that in Scotland, where the latest study was conducted, asthma-related hospitalizations of children fell 13% a year after smoking was banned in 2006 from workplaces and public buildings, including bars and restaurants.
The health benefits are especially evident in that before the ban, admissions to hospitals due to asthma attacks had been rising 5% a year in Scotland. It is apparent that the smoking bans significantly reduce the monetary and social costs of smoking.
This reduction in health costs and the increase of well-being is not exclusive to Scotland. Earlier, studies in the U.S., specifically in Arizona and Kentucky, reached similar conclusions. The study in Scotland is, to date, the largest study of its kind and it supports the case for smoking bans. The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.Continued on the next page