Monday, September 10, 2007

Scottish smoking ban has improved public health.

There has been a significant improvement in public health according to the most recent research carried out in Scotland.

Comparisons of heart attack rates at nine hospitals showed a 17% drop in the number of heart attack victims since March 2006 when the smoking in public places ban was implemented.

The research also suggest that the air quality found in pubs is now as good as that outside.

The report also states there has been a reduction of 40% in the number of adults exposed to second-hand tobacco smoke (also known as environmental tobacco smoke)

The main findings of the study were;

The ban has reduced second hand smoke exposure in both children and adults.

Among primary school children, levels of a by-product of nicotine fell by more than a third (39%) following the ban.

In adults, cotinine (a metabolite of nicotine) levels fell by almost half (49%) in non-smokers from non-smoking households.

Non-smokers living in smoking households continued to have high levels of second hand smoke exposure in the home.

And the authors suggest that further action is urgently required to support smoking households to implement smoke-free homes and cars.

The scientific research is based on routine health data, as well as research projects undertaken by government scientists and Scottish universities into the effects of the smoking ban.

The Scottish deputy chief medical officer, Professor Peter Donnelly, said the results were proof that the ban had produced major health gains.

Professor Jill Pell, who headed the research team which made the findings, said: "The primary aim of smoking bans is to protect non-smokers from the effects of passive smoking.

But Scottish publicans claim that many of the benefits could have been achieved without a ban and complain that bar sales have declined because of it.

Jill Pell said; "Previous studies have not been able to confirm whether or not that has been achieved. What we were able to show is that among people who are non-smokers there was a 20% reduction in heart attack admissions. This [research] confirms that the legislation has been effective in helping non-smokers."

After the Scotland banned smoking in enclosed public spaces, Wales and Northern Ireland followed suit in April 2007 and England did the same in July 2007.