Background: Previous studies have shown that after the adoption of comprehensive smoke-free legislation, there is a reduction in respiratory symptoms among workers in bars. However, it is not known whether respiratory disease is also reduced among people who do not have occupational exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. The aim of our study was to determine whether the ban on smoking in public places in Scotland, which was initiated in March 2006, influenced the rate of hospital admissions for childhood asthma.
Methods: Routine hospital administrative data were used to identify all hospital admissions for asthma in Scotland from January 2000 through October 2009 among children younger than 15 years of age. A negative binomial regression model was fitted, with adjustment for age group, sex, quintile of socioeconomic status, urban or rural residence, month, and year. Tests for interactions were also performed.
Results: Before the legislation was implemented, admissions for asthma were increasing at a mean rate of 5.2% per year (95% confidence interval [CI], 3.9 to 6.6). After implementation of the legislation, there was a mean reduction in the rate of admissions of 18.2% per year relative to the rate on March 26, 2006 (95% CI, 14.7 to 21.8; P<0.001). The reduction was apparent among both preschool and school-age children. There were no significant interactions between hospital admissions for asthma and age group, sex, urban or rural residence, region, or quintile of socioeconomic status.
Conclusions: In Scotland, passage of smoke-free legislation in 2006 was associated with a subsequent reduction in the rate of respiratory disease in populations other than those with occupational exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. (Funded by NHS Health Scotland.)