08:38am Sunday 20 October 2019

RCOG statement on new BMJ study looking at link between smoking bans and preterm birth

The study, published today in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), looks at the incidence of preterm delivery (<37 weeks gestation) in the Belgium population after implementation of a three-phase legislation to ban smoking (in public places and most workplaces in January 2006, in restaurants in January 2007, and in bars serving food in January 2010).

A total of 606,877 live singleton births were analysed between 2002 and 2011. Data showed a significant reduction in the risk of preterm births after the bans were introduced, with a 3.13% reduced risk by January 2007 and a further reduction in of 2.65% after January 2010.

The data collected pre-legislation showed no decreasing trends in preterm birth in the years leading up to the bans.

Patrick O’Brien, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) spokesperson, said:

“Smoking during pregnancy has been shown to have adverse effects on fetal development but this research also highlights the possible risks associated with second-hand smoke.

“This is a large study and provides important information for women, their families and healthcare providers when considering a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy.

“These findings reinforce the continued need for increased public policy and education on the adverse effects of smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke, especially during pregnancy.

“The smoking ban in enclosed public and work places in 2007 in the UK was a positive step and the RCOG supports these initiatives.”


For press enquiries please call Caitlin Walsh on 020 7772 6357 or email cwalsh@rcog.org.uk

For more information or to read the full BMJ study online click here

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