Smoke free legislation linked to drop in second-hand smoke exposure among adults

Smoke free legislation linked to drop in second-hand smoke exposure among adults

(Medical Xpress) -- Levels of second-hand smoke exposure among non-smoking adults fell by almost 30 per cent after smoke free legislation was introduced in England in 2007, researchers in the Department for Health (University of Bath) have found.

The most comprehensive study to date of second-hand among non-smoking adults in England, which was funded by the Department of Health, will be published online today in the journal .

Researchers analysed data from seven national surveys conducted between 1998 and 2008. These surveys measured cotinine, an indicator of , in saliva samples from over 30,000 people aged 16 and over.

They showed that levels of exposure to second-hand smoke in non-smokers had been declining in the ten years leading up to smoke free . But even when this decline was taken into account, the introduction of smoke free public places led to significant, additional reductions in exposure. Average exposure fell by 27 per cent immediately following the legislation.

The results further revealed that while there was a marked reduction in the levels of second-hand smoke exposure among those who lived in a smoke free home, those who lived in a home where there was smoking inside showed no significant change in exposure following the implementation of smoke free public places.

Dr Michelle Sims, the first author of the paper, said: “Smoke exposure fell after the introduction of England’s smoke free legislation above and beyond the underlying long-term decline, demonstrating the positive effect of the legislation.

“Nevertheless, some population subgroups appear not to have benefited significantly from the legislation, suggesting that these groups should receive more support to reduce their exposure.

“There is now a large body of evidence documenting the adverse effects of second-hand smoke exposure. In adults it is now known to be linked with coronary heart disease, lung and various other cancers, stroke, chronic respiratory symptoms and adverse pregnancy outcomes.”

Other research has shown that smoke free legislation is also associated with reductions in hospital admissions for heart attacks and asthma in the UK and other countries.

Professor Anna Gilmore, who directed the study, said: “The importance of this study is that it examines the impacts of smoke free policies on adults’ exposure using a specific biological-marker of smoke exposure (rather than self-reported exposure) while simultaneously controlling for underlying declines in exposure.

“To our knowledge it is the first study to do this. The fact it shows marked declines in adult exposure provides further evidence of the important public health benefits of smoke-free policies.”

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Children unaffected by smoking ban consequences

Nov 24, 2009

The smoking ban in Wales has not displaced secondhand smoke from public places into the home. A study of 3500 children from 75 primary schools in Wales, published in the open access journal BMC Public Health, found that t ...

Recommended for you

Blending faith and science to combat obesity

1 hour ago

Science and religion may seem like uneasy partners at times, but when it comes to promoting healthy lifestyles, one UConn Health researcher has shown they can be an effective combination.

Research project puts stroke patients back on their feet

1 hour ago

Finding the will to exercise routinely can be challenging enough for most people, but a stroke presents even more obstacles. Yet aerobic exercise may be crucial for recovery and reducing the risk of another ...

Air quality and unconventional oil and gas sites

4 hours ago

Research suggesting air pollutants released by unconventional oil and gas production are well over recommended levels in the US is published today in the open access journal Environmental Health. High levels of benzene, hydrog ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Xharlie
not rated yet Dec 15, 2011
Smoke free environments for the win!

There is only one effective strategy to combat smoking and that is for non-smokers to simply decide not to tolerate it at all. Make life difficult for smokers. Ask them to leave, ask them to stop smoking around you, call the restaurant manager and ask him or her to ask the smokers to leave. Ask to change tables. Make a scene, even if you don't get the smokers to leave, if everyone does this, sooner or later smoking will become taboo.

Smoking is a vice that affects all those around you - it's not just your health you're ruining.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.