The Impact of smoke-free legislation on perinatal and infant mortality: a national quasi-experimental study, published its findings today (13.08.15).

Researchers led by the University of Edinburgh looked at information on more than ten million births in England between 1995 and 2011.

The study found smoke-free legislation is associated with improved early-life outcomes and a drop in stillbirth and neonatal deaths in England. 

Smoking and smoke-exposure during pregnancy are known to have long-term adverse effects on the health of unborn children, including increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Charlotte Bevan, Senior Research and Prevention Officer at Sands, said:

“There has been a steady fall in the percentage of women smoking during pregnancy in the UK over the past decade, from 15% to 11%. But in some areas of the UK, usually the poorest, as many as one in 5 women are still smoking when they give birth. A ban on smoking in public, while it may not be fully responsible for the fall in the number of stillbirths reported by researchers at Edinburgh, is certainly one step to saving lives. Pregnant women and their partners also need targeted, individual support to help them give up and raise their children in a smoke-free environment.”

The study is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

References

Research article:

J.V.Been et al. Impact of smoke-free legislation on perinatal and infant mortality: a national quasi-experimental study. Scientific Reports, 2015. 10.1038/srep13020