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U.S. Needs To Learn From Scotland’s Smoke-Free Air Law

In National News on September 21, 2010 at 9:38 am

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published information from a study in Scotland showing the impact of that country’s smoke-free law on reducing hospital admissions for childhood asthma. This new study shows yet another benefit of smoke-free laws — reducing emergency hospitalizations for childhood asthma, thus saving lives and healthcare dollars. Here are a few of the key lessons we can learn from Scotland:

  • With more than half of American kids aged 3-11 still exposed to secondhand smoke, this added benefit of smoke-free laws is especially important.
  • Studies in the U.S. have shown similar effects, which are not surprising given the impact of secondhand smoke on asthma and the success of smoke-free laws in reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Aside from reducing kids’ exposure to secondhand smoke in public places, smoke-free laws appear to prompt more people, including smokers, to make their homes smoke-free — thereby even further reducing kids’ exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Strong smoke-free laws protect everybody’s right to breathe clean air and protect workers and patrons from the 4,000 chemicals, including more than 60 carcinogens, in secondhand smoke. Secondhand smoke is a proven cause of cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses, including the exacerbation of childhood asthma. 

Here are links to AP and USA Today stories on this study:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/15/AR2010091505209.html

http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/pediatrics/2010-09-16-asthma16_st_N.htm

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