Asthma admissions drop after smoking ban

Emergency admissions for asthma have dropped since the smoking ban Photo: Clive Gee/PA

The number of adults admitted to hospital for emergency treatment for asthma has fallen by nearly 1,900 a year since smokefree legislation was introduced in England. That is according to research by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies which is based at the University of Bath. It found an immediate drop of 4.9% among adults in emergency hospital admissions for asthma after the ban on smoking in public places and workplaces in July 2007.

The ban on lighting up in a public place or workplace came into force on 1st July 2007 Credit: Caroline Seidel

The study, funded by the Department of Health, identified emergency admissions of people over 16 for asthma every month from April 1997 to December 2010. The researchers compared those before and after the smoking ban was introduced on 1st July 2007, taking into account factors like seasonal flu and temperature.

Secondhand smoke exposure has significant adverse health effects on the adult respiratory system with current evidence suggesting that it contributes to the onset and exacerbation of asthma.

There is already evidence that smokefree 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. Our findings show that these health benefits extend to adult asthma.

– Dr Michelle Sims, Research Fellow, University of Bath
Evidence suggests secondhand smoke exacerbates asthma Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

The research, which is published in the journal Thorax this week, adds to the evidence that mokefree policies have a positive impact on health.