Latest asthma figures are a breath of fresh air for hospitals

Asthma-related hospital admissions have dropped by almost 5% since the introduction of the smoking ban, say researchers.

The new University of Bath study has linked the 2007 ban to 1,900 fewer emergency hospital admissions for asthma patients for each subsequent year.

“It [the study] provides further support to a growing body of national and international evidence of the positive effects that introducing smoke-free policies has on public health,” the study’s authors said.

The findings, published in the journal Thorax, examined 502,000 emergency admissions for asthma among adults aged 16 and over in England between April 1997 and December 2010.

It reveals a 4.9% fall in emergency admissions for the condition for each of the first three years since the smoking ban, taking seasonal temperatures and variations in population size into account.

The decrease was found to be consistent across the country.

Elsewhere in the world, smoking laws in other countries have been linked with up to 40% reductions in the number of emergency asthma admissions.

The authors of the report say the England figures may be lower because smoke-free policies were enforced in many workplaces before the national ban was introduced.