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New Evidence for Smoking Bans Boosts World Asthma Day

May 6, 2014 - Good news on World Asthma Day: Smoking bans appear to be effective in reducing the number of premature births and children's hospital visits for asthma. 

Baltimore City is on track to benefit from an outdoor ban smoking near places where children play, such as playgrounds, parks, and swimming pools. The ban, effective March 24, 2014, carries a $500 for offenders.

The new evidence comes through an analysis of 11 existing studies on local and national bans showing a 10% decline in both premature births and hospital visits in the year following the bans.  The results were published in the Lancet and reported upon in detail in the New York Times

Medical expenses for asthma exceeded $50 billion nationwide in 2007, so a 10% reduction in emergency room visits for asthma translates into significant savings. 

According to the March 31st Times article, experts in the field believe that smoking bans also affect smoking behavior in the home. The article quoted Joanna Cohen, director of the Institute for Global tobacco Control at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as saying, 'Strong smoke-free laws change social norms about smoking, and consequently people implement smoke-free policies in their own homes as well.'

B'more for Healthy Babies has identified smoking cessation and reduction of secondhand smoke as key priorities for reducing the infant mortality rate in Baltimore City. Initiatives include media campaigns to promote smoke-free environments and smoking cessation, an in-home pilot project involving air filters and behavioral counseling, and promotion of MDQuit's smoking cessation helpline via a parnership with United Way's 211 call center. 



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