Yourwellness Magazine Investigates Health Benefits of Smoking Ban

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With WHO reporting that the number of people covered by at least one life-saving measure to limit tobacco use has more than doubled in the last five years, Yourwellness Magazine explored how Belgium’s smoking ban has led to fewer preterm births.

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According to the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2013, released on the 10th of July, the number of people across the world who are covered by at least one life-saving measure to limit tobacco use has more than doubled in the last five years. Dr Douglas Bettcher, the Director of WHO’s Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases department, commented, “We know that only complete bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship are effective. Countries that introduced complete bans together with other tobacco control measures have been able to cut tobacco use significantly within only a few years.” (

With this in mind, Yourwellness Magazine explored how smoking bans may lead to fewer preterm births. According to Yourwellness Magazine, “You already know by now that, if you smoke when pregnant, you can stunt the growth of your baby and shorten the length of your pregnancy, and you’re probably aware that exposure to second-hand smoke could also affect the birth of your child, but until now scientists had less of an idea about how smoking bans impact preterm birth rates. Therefore, Tim Nawrot, of Belgium’s Hasselt University, led a team of researchers to investigate trends in births before 37 weeks gestation. They looked at these preterm births trends from 2002 to 2011, because this covered pre-, mid- and post-smoking ban periods of time.” (

Yourwellness Magazine explained that the study “Impact of a stepwise introduction of smoke-free legislation on the rate of preterm births: analysis of routinely collected birth data”, published 14th February 2013 in BMJ Open ( looked at Belgium’s smoking ban as it was introduced in three phases; firstly in public places and most workplaces in January 2006, then in restaurants one year later, and finally in bars serving food in January 2010. Yourwellness Magazine noted that the risk of preterm birth decreased after the introduction of each phase, but no decreasing trend in preterm was evident in the years or months before the bans. Yourwellness Magazine commented that this shows a direct correlation between smoking bans and better health.

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Michael Kitt
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