Reduction in early and underweight babies in Spain linked to smoking ban

Research suggests that women in Spain had significantly fewer premature or underweight babies one year after a nationwide ban on smoking

One year on from a nationwide ban on smoking on public in Spain, women had fewer premature or underweight babies, a study suggests. The findings are based on more than five million babies born in Spain between 2000-2013. A partial ban, which referred to smoking in public and in many workplaces in Spain, was introduced in 2006, while a comprehensive ban came in in 2011.

The rate of babies that were born small for their gestational age dropped after the partial ban took effect, according to the report in online journal Pediatrics. And following the comprehensive ban, the rates of pre-term and low-birthweight babies also reduced.

“The implementation of the Spanish smoke-free policies was associated with a risk reduction for preterm births and low birth weight infants, especially with the introduction of the more restrictive ban,” read the report’s conclusion.

The implementation of the Spanish smoke-free policies was associated with a risk reduction for preterm births and low birth weight infants

The comprehensive ban was associated with an immediate 4.5 per cent reduction in the preterm birth rate, detailed the study, one that was sustained a year after the law took effect. The birth rate of underweight babies dropped by 2.3 per cent immediately and reduced further one year after implementation.

Smoking bans are thought to help in two ways: by reducing the number of places where expectant mothers are exposed to smoke; and by creating an incentive for people to give up the habit.


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